Ceaser Lobi Manzoki celebrates a goal against UPDF at the Army Military stadium in Bombo

After penning a two year deal at Vipers Sports Club last October, towering striker Ceaser Lobi Manzoki was accorded the treasured shirt 9.

He knew deep inside himself that the task in thy midst was to “deliver the goods” home.

Manzoki, 24, was well aware that he had come to a new league, fresh environs where he was ready to meet completely different new people in life with varying languages, lifestyles and cultures including food.

Vipers head coach Fred Kajoba (left) looks on as Ceaser Lobi Manzoki penned the employment contract at Vipers (Credit: Vipers SC Media)

When I came to Uganda at Vipers Sports Club, I knew of the challenges ahead of me that I would tackle as a well prepared professional footballer. I was prepared mentally and physically for job. Fine, initially I had challenges with the food and language but I adjusted accordingly in a record time.

Ceaser Lobi Manzoki, Vipers SC Striker

With a head gear after an early knock on the head, Manzoki marked his debut for Vipers during the 1-0 home loss to Sudanese Al Hilal Omdurman in the CAF Champions League preliminary round and was part of the team’s return leg in Khartoum.

He then had to miss the start of the season as he shredded off an injury spell before he set the ball rolling.

Mahad Yaya shields the ball away from Ceaser Manzoki at Mutesa II Wankulukuku Stadium. The game ended 1 all (Credit: John Batanudde)

Manzoki has since scored 7 goals against MYDA (home), Bright Stars (home), Police (home), Onduparaka (away), URA (away) and lately a well taken brace against the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) at Bombo.

He was named pilsner man of the match against UPDF for the exceptional work ethic and the two goals; a stunning shot from distance and a well headed goal off Abraham Ndugwa’s delivery into the goal area.

Manzoki shows the man of the match placard after a stunning performance against UPDF

Manzoki hails from a sporting family born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital city Kinshasa to Joseph Manzoki and Bibiche Osowa.

The 6 feet plus forward has two brothers and sisters apiece.

He describes the Uganda Premier League as a very good and physical league with talented players.

The Uganda Premier League is very good. It has great talented players who are physical in nature. It was a new challenge to me of course since I was coming in from elsewhere. My objective has been to work hard in training, rest early, eat well and drink a lot of water. Of course, I do not drink anything alcoholic. I have tried to be focused and injected in hours in personal training.

Ceaser Lobi Manzoki, Vipers SC Striker
Ceaser Manzoki smiles after scoring twice against UPDF at Bombo

Injuries, language and food hitches:

Like all new personalities in fresh confines, they are bound to be affected by variations in living life styles, cultures and definitely languages as well as the food varieties.

All these in a way obviously came into play for Manzoki at Vipers coupled with the injuries he suffered.

Speaking French, Lingala and Swahili was bound to keep him from many English and luganda speakers at the club but the gap has been since bridged.

It was not an easy start for me. I suffered some injuries that I managed to shake off. I tried my level best to adapt being a professional. Football itself being a universal language spoken by all, the language issue has not been a big problem. I am learning English and of course some Luganda (Mpola…mpoola). For the food, I have also adjusted accordingly although sometimes I also cook for myself. I stay near the stadium for convenience to avoid traffic jam since I have to be on time in training sessions and matches. I do not party nor drink alcohol. Football is my job and I have to respect it.

Ceaser Lobi Manzoki, Vipers SC Striker
Manzoki in warn up before the Al Hilal game with a head protective gear (Credit: John Batanudde)

Manzoki has ably fitted in to Vipers’ style of play and he is friendly with the entire crop of fellow players as well as members of the technical team and other staff.

His ability to learn English very fast and a few Luganda jargons has also eased the communication part and bridged the hitherto big gap.

He is very strong in the air and shoots well with either feet.

Siraj Sentamu, Bashiru Asiku and Ibrahim Orit join Ceasar Manzoki to celebrate the winner against Police (Credit:John Batanudde) Credit: John Batanudde

Manzoki is excited about the healthy competition for playing time at the club given the number of natural forwards at Vipers as Yunus Ssentamu, Dan Sserunkuma, Lawrence Tezikya, Richard Basangwa and the other offensive minded players from midfield as Paul Mucureezi, Allan Kayiwa, Abraham Ndugwa, Milton Karisa and the others.

With a compilation of fixtures in the Stanbic Uganda Cup and the league, Vipers technical team is spolit for choice with the squad depth.

Ceaser Manzoki during an aerial challenge against MYDA at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende Credit: John Batanudde

As a player, Manzoki is keen to keep in shape and available for selection whenever duty calls.

He envisages a bright future at the club and has set 15 goals as the target in the league before the season climaxed in June 2021.

“I want to keep working hard every day in training. I set myself a target of 15 goals for the season in the Uganda Premier League” the former TP Mazembe and AS Vita center forward adds.

Manzoki also yearns to remain focused and carry on the national team career having already made his debut on the DRC team in 2019.

Profile:

  • Full Names: Cesar Manzoki Lobi
  • Date of Birth: October 12, 1996
  • Height: 1.89cm
  • Weight: 80kgs
  • Position: Striker
  • Nationality: Congolese
  • Strong foot: Right & Left
  • Key Attributes: Strong in the air, powerful shot
  • Previous Clubs: Dauphin Noir De Goma (2012 – 2016), TP Mazembe (2016 -2017 -12 goals/ 21 appearances), AS Vita: 2017 – 2020 (58 appearances/ 38 goals/assists)
  • Personal Achievements: CAF Champions League (9 games/6 goals), CAF Confederation Cup (12 games), DR Congo National team debut in 2019
  • Goals at Vipers so far: 7

*Profile extracted from vipers website

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

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