The 2010s officially come to an end today and there is so much to reflect on what has happened in the last decade (2010- 2019) across all spheres of life.
In the last ten years, Uganda has produced a number of footballers with some going ahead to play at the best stages while some have failed to live the expectations and promises along the way.
In this article, Joel Muyita looks at some of the players that came to the scene with promise at the start of the decade but failed to make the grade due to various reasons.
A product of Kampala Junior Team (KJT), Kiwanuka promised and when he joined KCCA FC, he became a key player as the Lugogo based side won back to back league titles (2012/13 and 2013/14). One of his memorable goals was a thunderous strike against then title contenders SC Victoria University at Mandela National stadium, a game that ended in a one-all draw.
Kiwanuka’s performance did not go unnoticed and then Uganda Cranes’ coach Milutin ‘Micho Sredojevic summoned him in 2014 as the team prepared to face Madagascar in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers. He later also featured the U-23 National team.
The midfielder, however, opted to leave KCCA FC and return to KJT who had merged with Rweshama to form a team that played in the 2014/15 league as KJT Rweshama. They got relegated on the first time of asking and since this was the start of the disappearance of Kiwanuka off the scene.
St. Mary’s Kitende had failed to win the National Post Primary Schools’ Championship both in 2009 and 2010 falling to Tororo Progressive Academy and Buddo SS respectively at the quarterfinal stage.
However, they returned strong in 2011 with Eddie Mubiru as the captain, he struck a first-half brace against Kibuli SS in the finals played in Arua. Kitende went on to claim the championship.
Mubiru a central midfielder who had the abilities to dictate play with ease and added goals to his game joined Bunammwaya (now Vipers SC), at one time had trial stints with Gor Mahia and also had a stint at KCCA FC but his career was hugely affected by recurring injuries.
This hindered his progress and failed to become a player that many Ugandans hoped he would turn into. Even when he resurfaced at Wakiso Giants FC last season in the FUFA Big League, he barely played with them and was released as the team won promotion to top-flight the Uganda Premier League.
Eric ‘Bucha’ Ssebuguzi
Ssebuguzi up to today holds the record for the most goals scored in a single tournament at the National Post Primary Schools’ Championship. Despite his school, St. Mary’s Kitende not reaching the final in 2010, the striker netted 24 goals and this opened his doors for the country to realize his potential.
His spell at Express FC did not help him make any progress until he left the club in 2015. The last time, I saw him playing was two seasons ago at Kireka United FC in the FUFA Big League.
When you mention Eric Ssebuguzi at Express FC, the next name that comes to your mind is Julius Ogwang.
Another player that promised a lot at the start for both KCCA FC and Express FC but did not live the billing.
In 2015, when Willy Kavuma left Wankulukuku, Wasswa Bossa named Ogwang the Express FC captain but still this did not help him.
One of the very many players at Proline FC that promised a lot at a tender age. Atuhaire alongside Andrew Buteera, and Charles Tibingana showed potential and this attracted the attention of Rwanda who made sure the said players opted to feature for their country of origin rather than Uganda where they were raised.
Buteera who was a student at Mulusa Academy and Old Kampala SS would go on to feature for the Rwanda U-17 side that reached qualified for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.
His stints at KCCA FC and Maroons FC showed he had the potential to become a good player. In 2011 he was part of Uganda Hippos’ squad (U-20) that had players like Khalid Aucho, Murushid Jjuko, Deus Bukenya, Muzamir Mutyaba among others under the guidance of coach Paul Nkata.
However, the progress was not realized and later opted to move to USA where he joined Tiffin University on a soccer scholarship.
He is a holder of an MBA in business administration, currently a procurement professional in the US and a coach for Upper 90 Football Club Academy.
Another player that excited the local football scene, right from his school days at Mehta SS. In 2008, Buni alongside players like William Wadri, Kennedy Andabati, and Wilber Baguma guided the Lugazi based school to the final of the Copa Coca Cola Championship albeit losing to St. Mary’s Kitende.
Buni was named the tournament’s MVP and was among the six players that were selected to go to Brazil for a camp. The others include Paddy Akungizibwe, Abel Eturude, Robert Magomu, Caesar Sapeo and William Luwagga Kizito.
Since then he has turned out to be a wanderer at several clubs such as SC Villa, URA FC, The Saints, BUL FC, Soana F, Western Stima (Kenya), Nyamityobora FC and Kyetume FC among others.
He was influential as Buddo SS won their first National Post Primary Championship in 2009 when they defeated Old Kampala SS in the final. Isma Ssegujja and Joseph Ochaya scored the vital goals. That year, Buddo SS had several talented players that combined well to deliver success. Others included Fred Agandu, Iddi Babu who was the captain and Hashim Ssempala among others.
He failed to make the cut at Vipers SC and kept moving from one club to another including Lweza FC and recently, Masavu FC.
However, his career was hugely distracted by recurring injuries and thus failed to become the player we anticipated.
He surprised many with his sublime performance at the 2009 COPA Coca Cola tournament held in Fort Portal despite playing for a less known Nile High School from Mukono. Then in Senior 4, he later crossed to St. Mary’s Kitende and was part of the Uganda U-17 national team that won the CECAFA U-17 Championship in Sudan.
However, he disappeared off the scene and only showed up again a few years later at Hope Doves before joining Bright Stars FC under coach Fred Kajjoba.
For those that have followed Copa Coca Cola to the dot over the years, 2010 remains a unique year where little known Bishop Nankyama won the championship on their debut defying odds against the traditional giants.
In the final, Bishop Nankyama stunned Kibuli SS by 1-0 and the lone goal of the game was scored by Oyirwoth. It should be noted that Oyirwoth had previously played at Kibuli SS before crossing over to the Luweero based school.
He later moved to Kitende and played for Vipers SC but failed to make any realistic impression and left the club at the start of 2015.
He is a young brother to former Uganda Cranes captain Andrew Mwesigwa and promised a lot at a tender age. A center back with size, game intelligence, comfort on the ball among others, Kasadha had the qualities to become a good player.
However, he was never serious about his career and this saw him to realize his potential. He became a hobo at clubs often moving between Uganda and Kenya. Locally, he featured for SC Villa, KCCA FC, and SC Victoria University.
He made his name at Tororo Progressive Academy (TOPA) during his school days. Coach Abbey Bogere Kikomeko had transformed the school into a serious contender, rubbing shoulders with favorites like St. Mary’s Kitende and Kibuli SS.
In 2009, TOPA stunned Kitende at the quarterfinal stage but would go on to lose to eventual winners Buddo SS.
Sapeo was a key player and attracted the attention of several clubs first moving to Boroboro Tigers before joining KCCA FC. He, however, lost his head and on several occasions fell out with coach Matia Lule at KCCA FC.
He tried to regain his prowess at Busoga United FC in 2016 when he reunited with coach Kikomeko but still failed and once again disappeared off the scene.
Does anyone remember how SC Victoria University made their entry to Ugandan football with pomp? A Club that came into existence in 2011 and won promotion to the top tier league.
They made several marquee signing including defender Dennis Iguma for a reported fee of $10,000 from SC Villa. The other players included Noah Ssemakula, Manko Kaweesa, Lawrence Kasadha, Ibrahim Saddam Juma and Ali Kimera among others.
Ssemakula joined SC Victoria University from SC Villa and at the time, he was one of the budding players in the country. However, the project was short-lived and several players left.
Prior to that, Ssemakula had featured for Victors FC. However, he stamped authority and opened himself to the public in 2010 at Express FC when he scored 11 goals in the league including the first hat trick of the season as the Red Eagles routed Boroboro 5-0.
When he left SC Victoria University, he never regained his feet despite returning to Express FC and moving to Bamboutos FC in Cameroon last year.
A younger brother to Uganda Cranes forward Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, Olaki was immensely talented and would beat any defender in the World on his good day.
He exhibited his potential at a tender age while studying at Standard High School Zzana and Mashariki High School. Olaki was part of the squad that helped Buluuri to win the Airtel Masaza Cup in 2011.
He made his name at Soana FC (now Tooro United FC) when he emerged as the top scorer in the 2013/14 Uganda Premier League campaign.
The striker was part of the Uganda Cranes squad that featured at the 2014 Africa Nations Championship in South Africa.
Olaki moved to FK Tirana in Finland but lasted just one season and returned to Uganda, joining KCCA FC where he failed to make a cut. He rejoined Tooro United FC but his progress was mainly affected by injuries.
He currently plays for Extension Gunners in Botswana and we can only hope he regains his scoring touch.