When Mustafa Kizza made his debut for KCCA FC on 3rd March 2017 against Bright Stars FC, he clearly looked nervous and literally did not cross the centre- line. At the time, he had just returned to Lugogo from Maroons FC where he had played in the first round of the 2016/17 FUFA Big League season on loan. Playing in the top tier league would see many get butterflies in the stomach. More so bearing in mind that Kizza was just rookie then. He was one of the six players that KCCA FC promoted from their junior team (KCCA Soccer Academy) in February 2017. The others included Peter Magambo, Herbert Achayi, Julius Poloto, Allan Okello and Noel Nasasira.
Kizza had performed quite well during his loan stint at Maroons, playing every game and many people questioned why KCCA FC gaffer Mike Hillary Mutebi rushed to bring him back instead of allowing him more playing time. At the time of his return to Lugogo, KCCA FC had Joseph Ochaya, Isaac Muleme, Paul Musamali, Brian Majwega and Habib Kavuma who were miles ahead of him in the left-back position.
However, Mutebi, as he has always done, made the bold decision to fix Kizza into the team and by the end of the 2016/17 season, the lanky full-back had made seven appearances for KCCA FC.
Ochaya left for Zambia’s Lusaka Dynamos in March 2017, Musamali was a fringe player and even when he got the chance to play, he was deployed as a centre back mainly. Kavuma too had shifted to central defence while Majwega had fallen out with the club citing breach of contract and thus did not feature that much towards the end of the season. All this seemed to play in Kizza’s favour who was now left to compete with Isaac Muleme for playing time.
When the 2017/18 season began, Kizza had made a case for himself, dislodging Muleme and by the time the latter left the club in January 2018, KCCA FC had no concerns about the left-back position.
The Ochaya – Kizza resemblance
You would easily think Kizza is a young brother to Ochaya given the striking resemblance between the two players. It is a public secret that Kizza always looked at Ochaya as an inspiration and the fact that he got to share the same dressing room with him, he nearly became his reflection. The walking, playing style and so many traits that the two shared.
Whereas his nickname is/was Marcelo, Kizza confesses Ochaya was a role model and learnt a lot from him.
“He was my role model and I wanted to play like him. I learnt a lot from him and always guided me on what to do.” Kizza said.
Ochaya, currently plying his trade at TP Mazembe in DR Congo is proud that someone who looks up to him continues to develop and transform into a fine player. He took to his official Facebook account to congratulate Kizza upon guiding Uganda to winning a record 15th CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.
“ Hahahaha let mi first laugh because I remember people talking, shouting when I was starting this type of play in Ugandan football but I did not give up on it because I knew it’s the only way I can make people happy and mentor young players who think football is hard not knowing someone had a paper and a pen noting each and every move I do on the pitch. Anyway, brother congratulations, I love you very much and you know it every success you make in your footballing life, I appreciate because I know it’s not easy but focus God will surely do it to u lets promote this together and conquer Africa and finally thanks for using the brand I mean F50 that’s the only sign of our play and number Jah bless brada# God first.” Reads a post from Ochaya’s Facebook page.
How Kizza has evolved to become one of the best full-backs
The best example of how important modern full-backs have become crucial in the team’s attacks is Liverpool’s duo of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Both players have experienced a meteoric rise to prominence at Liverpool over the past couple of years, to the point where both can now be considered not only among the finest in their respective positions domestically but also across Europe.
Given the Reds’ suffocating system which is reliant on every player contributing, so when they win the ball, Robertson and Trent are equally as important as Naby Keita, Sadio Mané, Mo Salah or Roberto Firmino going forward and this perhaps explains their statistics this season.
Trent has six assists in the Premier League this season, one ahead of Robertson while the former has 52 chances created just ten behind the best creator, Kevin De Bruyne.
For any good player(s), there are one or two things they do regularly that become their trademark. It could be dribbling, shooting, being perfect in dead ball situations name it. Since coming to the scene, Kizza has presented himself as one of the best-left full-backs, executing what football in the modern era requires from such a position. The surging runs, pinpoint deliveries, penetrating one-touch passing and goals. What he lacks in defending, Kizza compensates in offering support to the forwards whenever his team is in possession of the ball. And this doesn’t entirely mean he is poor at defending.
According to planet.training.com, a 2016 study on position-specific game requirements in different formations supports the impression and confirms a significant influence of the formation on the physical demands of the respective positions. In a modern 3-5-2 system, full-backs mostly referred to as wing-backs, post the largest total distance run per game and also cover the longest distance for high-intensity runs. Especially compared to the performance levels in a 4-4-2 system, it becomes clear what influence the modern tactics have on the physical demands of a full back: More running, more sprinting!
Kizza has not shied away from the demands and continues to perfect his trade. For the last two seasons, the lanky defender has topped the assist charts in the Uganda Premier League. It should also be noted that he already has eight assists this season (2019/20), more than any player in the Uganda Premier League.
Kizza’s League assists in the last 3 seasons
- 2017/18 – 16 assists
- 2018/19 – 14 assists
- 2019/20 – 8 assists
Adding goals to his game
Kizza has not only settled for being a creator but sometimes find himself on the score sheet. He has shown this aspect this season scoring about nine goals for club and country this season.
And what is impressing is he scores in different fashions. For instance, his goals against African Stars and Busoga United FC came from direct free-kicks. Against SC Villa, he decided to shoot from a distance and his ferocious strike went past goalkeeper Saidi Keni.
As Uganda won the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, Kizza’s goal had beauty written all over it. From the donkey work by Karim Watambala to Bright Anukani’s lay-up, Fahad Bayo’s dummy. The roving left-back found himself inside the area and calmly chose his spot before sending a low drive.
With reports indicating, he wants to leave KCCA FC for greener pastures, there are several clubs that have already shown interest in signing him.