Uganda Cranes' Salim Jamal Magoola Credit: © Kawowo Sports | Cosmas Arinitwe

Uganda Cranes and Al Hilal goalkeeper Omar Jamal Salim Magoola’s stardom status is unquestionable for his wonder talent, generous heart and the well-heeled work ethic.

The lanky albeit soft spoken goalkeeper’s gradual ascendency to prominence is more like the countless tales in the rags to riches episodes, typical of most successful global sporting icons.  

Orphaned as a toddler when he lost his father, Abdul Salim Jamal Magoola, at a tender age, Jamal Junior grew up a single child and did not get distracted.

Back then, he was pencil thin but the structure was never an encumbrance to his budding career.

Jamal Salim in a training session

He remained focused and successfully completed education, little wonder therefore; Jamal has to this date remained as open-minded, fore-sighted and eloquent as an off-spring from the outspoken Buckingham Palace at the West Minister’s city.

A member of the Uganda Cranes team for two back to back Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Gabon (2017) and lately, Egypt in 2019, Jamal has never forgotten his roots.

Jamal has a soft spot for humanity as amplified by the various charity projects undertaken in his native Pallisa home area, Katooke area in Kampala and various unnoticed individual tokens.

Jamal Salim Magoola in a Uganda Cranes training session Credit: Aisha Nakato
Salim Jamal plays the ball back as Denis Onyango keeps a keen eye on the ball Credit: FUFA Media

The Al Hilal first choice goalkeeper runs a charity organization in his village deep in Pallisa where a number of kids have been getting school fees and tools to study.

Most recently, Jamal opened up a car washing bay in Katooke zone where at least 50 youths are employed.

The goalkeeper’s generosity had cut across the divide as he interacts closely with personalities in high positions of authority most notably; the Assistant Supretendant of Police; Asp Benjamin Atuhurira.

Salim Jamal Magoola hands over a Uganda Cranes jersey to Assistant Supretendant of Police; Asp Benjamin Atuhurira
ASP Atuhurira clad the shirt donated by goalkeeper Jamal

ASP Atuhurira showers special praise to the goalkeeper who he regards as brother.

“I am so humbled and privileged to have a man as Salim Jamal as a close personal and family friend. He has motivated so many young people to take upon the beautiful game. He is kind and helpful. Besides, he is a typical role model to man” Atuhurira notes.

Born 24 years in Pallisa district, over 200KM from the capital city, Kampala, Jamal kick-started his footballing journey at a local side, Eagles Football Club.

Jamal with friends
Jamal with young relatives
Jamal Salim being touched on the head by Ivorian defender Pascal Wawa during a CECAFA Challenge Cup Credit: © Kawowo Sports / AISHA NAKATO

Jamal’s break through moment arrived in the year 2011 during the MTN FUFA inter-regions tournament.

As he featured for the Central region team, the eventual champions of the tournament, he was spotted by Express Football Club.

In between, Jamal featured at Kampala Junior Team (KJT) Academy and took part in the famous youth world cup – Gothia in Sweden as well as the Milk Cup in Denmark.

“Jamal has always remained a down to earth person. So hardworking and ever encouraging teammates” Mansoor Kabugo, director at KJT attests.

Jamal guided Express to the 2011 – 2012 Uganda Premier League success, the club’s sixth title since their 1957 founding year.

He changed allegiance and switched to rivals, KCCA winning back to back league titles in the 2012 – 2013 as well as the 2013 – 2014 seasons.

Sudanese most successful football club and moneybags El Merriekh signed him from KCCA, winning two league titles with them in 2013 and 2015.

In 2018, Jamal joined rivals Al Hilal where he has so far won title and guided them to the group stages of the CAF Champions League.

Jamal made his international debut for Uganda on 10 July 2012 against South Sudan

Besides a soft spot for non-footballing people, Jamal has also encouraged and motivated fellow players.

Many in the aforementioned cluster as close friends like Yunus Ssentamu Junior, Erisa Ssekisambu and Yayo Lutimba will boldly confess moving testimonies.

Jamal and Yunus Ssentamu
Erisa Ssekisambu and Jamal share a light moment

Since 10th July 2012 when he made his international debut for Uganda Cranes against South Sudan, Jamal has remained a consistent figure for the national team, although largely as an understudy, alongside another goalie Robert Odongkara to the captain Denis Onyango.

Like the common adage, the sky only remains the limit for Jamal and his soothing heart.

Salim Jamal Magoola (second from left) looks on during the contract signing event in Sudan Credit:
Jamal Salim being congratulated by teammates as his side lifted CECAFA Kagame Cup in 2014 Credit: © Kawowo Sports / AISHA NAKATO
Goalkeeper Salim Jamal poses with Joseph Kabagambe after a league game in Sudan

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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