Midfielder Ivan Irinimbabazi

Irinimbabazi is a rich name loosely translated as “Grace of God”.

Uganda U-17 national team player Ivan Irinimbabazi is indeed blessed by the Grace of God.

Standing at over 6 feet, the teenager was part of the Uganda U-17 national team that won the 2019 CECAFA U-17 championship held in Rubavu district, Rwanda.

Irinimbabazi is delighted for the gift of this enviable height that has tormented the opposition in a way or another.

Ivan Irinimbabazi wins most aerial battles during football engagements

“When I was still young, I did not like the height because my fellow friends used to make fun of me. But, now, I am very happy and too much proud of the height because I use it as an advantage to head the ball,” Irinimbabazi confesses.

On 1st February 2021, Irinimbabazi will be celebrating his 17th birthday.

The second last born in the family of nine was born in Nakaseke North, Nakaseke District to Eliphazi Kafizi and Jovia Mukatale.

The family has since relocated to the capital city, Kampala and are residents at Makerere, Kikoni.

Ivan Irinimbabazi celebrates a goal during the U-17 CECAFA Championships

He commenced his elementary education at Makerere Primary School in Kampala where he completed his primary leaving examinations.

He then elevated to Gadaffi Integrated Academy (S1 – S2), Caltec Academy Makerere (S3) and currently at Royal Giant Academy – Mityana in senior four.

“My best subjects at Royal Giant Academy, Mityana are three; Swahili, Fine Art and Computer. The best teachers are Isiah Nabende (Southern History) & Martin Mwanje (Mathematics),”  Irinimbabazi says.

Ivan Irinimbabazi jumps high to head the ball during the 2020 Masaza Cup competition as he featured for Busujju Ssaza
Ivan Irinimbabazi in the defensive wall. He often tracks back to defend

Football Journey:

Irinimbabazi started his football career at Youth Path Academy in Makerere.

He has since featured at Bulenga based Zera Foundation Academy,  Bright Stars Junior Team, Bulenga U-19 (KAJUFA), Uganda U-17 National Team and the  Busujju Ssaza team in the Buganda Masaza Cup tournament.

Ivan Irinimbabazi in warm up with the Uganda U17 teammates
Ivan Irinimbabazi (right) tackles a player from Ethiopia

His best match played thus far was the final of the 2019 CECAFA U-17 championship at the Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu, Rwanda.

In this very match, Irinimbabazi scored the opening goal as Uganda Cubs beat their Tanzania counterparts 3-1 to qualify for the continental finals that will be staged in Morocco.

His toughest opponent faced so far is Tanzanian U-17 player Mohammed Mubarak.

He has two role models; Khalid Aucho and Brazilian holding midfielder Carlos Henrique José Francisco Venâncio Casimiro.

Khalid AUcho in action against Khama Billiat at AFCON 2019. Aucho is Irinimbabazi’s local role model
Brazilian Carlos Henrique José Francisco Venâncio Casimiro is also a role model for Ivan Irinimbabazi

Irinimbabazi is humbled for the different people who have impacted for the better in his football career.

These include his parents as well as coaches as Edward Ssozi (Caltec Academy, Makerere), Frank Mulindwa (Zera Foundation – Bulenga, Busujju Ssaza team), Radjabu Mukasa (Gadafi integrated Academy), Mulangira Geofrey Jjuuko (Royal Giant School), Bashir Mutyaba, David Kirevu (Youth Path Academy – Makerere), Adam Masembe (Bulenga U-19 Team), Middu Masanafu, Yasser (Divine Sport Academy, Lungujja), Tonny Mutebi (Bright Stars Junior Team), Hamza Lutalo (Uganda U-17 National Team), Brian Ssenyondo (Mbarara City and Assistant coach, Uganda U-17 National team), Hamza Lutalo (Uganda U-17 National Team), Ronald Ssali (Prosper Agency), Steven Bengo and Oscar Ssaka (Assistant coach Caltec Academy), among others.

Coach Frank Mulindwa (facing camera) talks to Busujju players. On the extreme right is Irinimbabazi
Daniel Carvajal Ramos is another player admired by Irinimbabazi. In fact, he is nick-named Carvajal

He is nick-named “Carvajal” after the Spanish and Real Madrid right back; Daniel Carvajal Ramos.

Irinimbabazi aspires to elevate to the other underage teams as U-20, U-21 and U-23 as well as the senior national team, Uganda Cranes.

Ivan Irinimbabazi (left) celebrates a goal for Uganda Cubs

Detailed Profile:

Full Name: Ivan Irinimbabazi

Nickname: Carvajal

Date of Birth: 1st February 2004

Place of Birth: Nakaseke North, Nakaseke District

Parents: Eliphazi Kafizi &  Jovia Mukatale

Tribe: Munyankore

Height: 8.3 Feet

Education: Makerere Primary School (P1-P7), Gadaffi Integrated Academy (S1 – S2), Caltec Academy Makerere (S3), Royal Giant Academy – Mityana (S4- Current)

Best Subjects: Swahili, Fine Art and Computer

Best teachers: Isiah Nabende (Southern History) & Martin Mwanje (Mathematics)

Place of Residence: Makerere, Kinoni

Role Models: Khalid Aucho (Uganda Cranes and Misr Lel Makkasa, Egypt) & Carlos Henrique José Francisco Venâncio Casimiro (Brazil & Real Madrid)

Football: Youth Path Academy – Makerere, Zera Foundation – Bulenga, Bright Stars Junior Team, Bulenga U-19 (KAJUFA), Uganda U-17 National Team, Busujju Ssaza team

Best Match played:  Uganda U-17 Vs Tanzania U-17 (Scored the opening goal during the 3-1)

Toughest opponent faced: Mohammed Mubarak (Tanzania U-17 player)

Coaches handled: Edward Ssozi (Caltec Academy, Makerere), Frank Mulindwa (Zera Foundation – Bulenga, Busujju Ssaza team), Radjabu Mukasa (Gadafi integrated Academy), Mulangira Geofrey Jjuuko (Royal Giant School), Bashir Mutyaba, David Kirevu (Youth Path Academy – Makerere), Adam Masembe (Bulenga U-19 Team), Middu Masanafu, Yasser (Divine Sport Academy, Lungujja), Tonny Mutebi (Bright Stars Junior Team), Hamza Lutalo (Uganda U-17 National Team), Brian Ssenyondo (Mbarara City and Assistant coach, Uganda U-17 National team), Ronald Ssali (Prosper Agency), Steven Bengo, Oscar Ssaka (Assistant coach Caltec Academy)

Ivan Irinimbabazi (second left) is joined by fellow Uganda U-17 players to celebrate a goal during the CECAFA U-17 championship

Ivan Irinimbabazi is hardworking and disciplined. He is tipped for the best times ahead.

Frank Mulindwa, head coach Busujju Ssaza, Zera Foundation

Ivan (Irinimbabazi) has a good height and knows how to make use of it optimally. He covers a lot of distances during play. He is discplined and follows instructions

Brian Ssenyondo, Assistant coach, Uganda U-17 team

I have seen Ivan Irinimbabazi develop into the player he is right from the FUFA Juniors League with Bright Stars Junior Team. He is a special player with a good height and he is genuinely young.

Bashir Mutyaba, FUFA Youth Development Officer

Ivan Irinimbabazi loves to learn. He is an obedient player, respectful and works hard both on and off the field of play.

Adam Masembe, Bulenga U-19 coach, Busujju Ssaza Technical head

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

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