Hilgard Football Academy players

Virtually, most successful sporting icons world over have a scratch to greatness story to tell home.

The billionaire golfing cluster boldly attest having caddied at one moment, professional footballers were once ball boys and kit bag carriers for the greatest players, tennis greats once cleaned the courts and so many related stories.

Therefore, it passes with bold mention that the foot-paths of great sportsmen ought to be well traced.

This is the glowing story-line at Entebbe based Kiwafu Hilgard Football Academy.

Four of the original players at this academy had a miserable lifestyle.

They had dropped out of school and literally struggled to find food.

Henceforth, as a means of survival, they collected metallic scrap in the areas of Nakiwogo, Lugonjo and Kiwafu; selling them at scrap dealers to find ways of survival.

I started Kiwafu Hilgard Football Academy with four players. They were young and came from poor families. In fact, they collected scrap to contribute to the family wellbeing. Football eventually elevated them when they earned bursaries at Hilgard Primary School” Festo Obonyo Owere, the academy founder and director recounts.

Kiwafu Hilgard football Academy has their home ground at the Kiwafu playground opposite division B (currently under renovation with a re-greening and fencing drive).

Junior players at Kiwafu Hilgard Academy
Entebbe Kiwafu playground undergoing the re-greening drive. This is home of Entebbe Hilgard Football Academy

Humble beginning:

Obonyo confesses that it was a tough start but inevitable with almost nothing from balls, playing boots, shirts and shorts.

We started with zero. We borrowed a ball and to gather these children to come over to the dusty Kiwafu Playground. All the children I started with have either studied for free or are on full bursary in various schools. We started with four kids with no bibs no shoes.it has been a struggle but most of the children have benefited from scrap dealing and transformed to good footballers on bursaries like Adam and others” Obonyo adds.

Kiwafu Hilgard Football Academy players with coach Festo Obonyo Owere

Michael Waremirwoph now in Ebenezer primary school, Sudias Buwembo completed P7 from Ebenezer, Adam Nsamba and Saviour Jakisa Mungu are in Mityana Sombe Primary school.

Frank Muzungu Kafiribi was also on full bursary from Hilgard Primary school before shifting to Ebenezer Primary School.

The academy was started in 2010 but got duly registered in 2020 under the Uganda Youth Football Association (UYFA), an affiliate of Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA).

To date, they are registered as a Community Based Organization (CBO) by Entebbe Municipal Council.

The main objective according to the founder was to help the children attain free education because of their football skills.

Kiwafu Hilgard Football Academy was founded with a key objective of helping  young children study for free as a result of the football skills instilled in them” Obonyo remarks.

The academy vision is “To morally bring up young players as good citizens to benefit the society” whilst the mission spelt out “To ensure that in future the groomed players play for top flight football clubs in Europe and the national team”.

Some of the young players at Kiwafu Hilgal Football Academy

Achievements:

Under 10 years, Kiwafu Hilgard Academy has registered a couple of landmark achievements

Most of the young players from the academy are studying for free (full school bursaries) from different primary and secondary schools like Ebenezer primary school, Hilgard primary school, Quality primary school among others.

There have also been jubilations on the podium in various tournaments as the U-14 cup in 2016, U-14 Nkumba Independence cup in 2019 and recently the U-12 and U-14 Kisubi Cup double in 2020.

Hilgard Academy players with their trophy in the Junior catergory

Administration:

In a bid to ensure effluent leadership and organization, Kiwafu Hilgard Academy is well organized internally with various departments.

Obonyo is the founder and director. He is deputized by Michael Bisussa.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is Sadrack “Shad” Ssemwogerere and Mariam Nankya as the general secretary.

Latima Katabira and Stuart Kimumwe both carry head coach fortfolios.

There are three assistant coaches in Richard “Flo” Mulindwa, Anthony Omeke and Julius Ceaser Chadiga.

Dorren Namaganda is the team doctor (Nurse) whilst UK based Phillip Jokkene Latigo, now also a youth coach in Cardiff City is the academy ambassador.

Jeremiah Otim (left) and Marvin Onen (right) are sons of the academy ambassador Phillip Jokkene Latigo

Two of Latigo’s sons Jeremiah Otim and Marvin Onen are both attached to the academy.

The recruitment procedure at the academy continues with visible fruits already shown.

Kiwaful Hilgard Football Academy Administrators:

  • Director: Festo Obonyo
  • Assistant Director: Michael Bisussa
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Sadrack “Shad” Ssemwogerere
  • General Secretary: Mariam Nankya
  • Head Coach: Latima Katabira
  • Head Coach: Stuart Kimumwe
  • Assistant Coach:  Richard “Flo” Mulindwa
  • Assistant Coach: Anthony Omeke
  • Assistant coach: Julius Ceaser Chadiga
  • Team doctor (Nurse): Dorren Namaganda
  • Ambassador: Phillip Jokkene Latigo

David Isabirye

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

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