Hon Fredrick Angura hands over the Uganda national flag to youngsters Alex Yiga (middle) and Hakim Kiwanuka at Entebbe International Airport | Credit: David Isabirye

Overview:

Offensive midfielder Alex Yiga (KCCA Soccer Academy) will conduct trials at Glasgow Rangers in Scotland. Towering midfielder Ivan Irinimbabazi will join Sadat Anaku at Dundee United whilst Hakim Kiwanuka will be at St Mirren Football Club

Three young Ugandan footballers have traveled to Scotland for trials with topflight premier clubs.

Uganda U-20, St Mary’s Kitende and Soltilo Bright Stars midfielder Ivan Irinimbabazi, attackers Hakim Kiwanuka and Alex Yiga departed Uganda for Scotland on Saturday, January 21, 2023.

The trio, accompanied by intermediary Herbert Ella Angura left Entebbe International Airport via Emirate Airlines via Dubai and Manchester before they will reach their final destinations in Scotland.

They were officially flagged off by Tororo South Member of Parliament Hon. Fredrick Angura at Entebbe International Airport, adjacent the lavish VIP lounge.

Hon Fredrick Angura hands the Uganda national flag to youngsters Alex Yiga (second left) and Hakim Kiwanuka at Entebbe International Airport | Credit: David Isabirye

I am glad that program which started 17 years ago in Tororo is starting to yield fruits. After successfully managing to export two players (Sadat Happy Anaku and Enock Walusimbi) to Scotland, another three (Ivan Irinimbabazi, Hakim Kiwanuka and Alex Yiga) are also heading to Scotland. In the coming weeks, two more will travel to Spain. This is good for our football as we take players to Europe where the pay is great, with a competitive environment and facilities are excellent. I thank the Government of Uganda and His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for all the necessary support. I however appeal for more increment in the sports budget to finance the sector.

Hon Fredrick Angura, Tororo South Member of Parliament
Hon Fredrick Angura, Member of Parliament for Tororo South addresses the media at Entebbe International Airport | Credit: David Isabirye
Hon Fredrick Angura hands over the traveling documents to midfielder Ivan Irinimbabazi at Entebbe International Airport | Credit: David Isabirye

Irinimbabazi who was permitted to leave the U-20 residential camp at FUFA Technical Center (in preparation for the 2023 AFCON U-20 finals) is expected to link up with Anaku at Dundee United.

“It feels great to travel to Europe as I seek for professional football. I thank all my coaches that I have worked with in my football journey, the club (Soltilo Bright Stars), Festoweb Sports Management, parents and friends for the encouragement” Irinimbabazi who has already represented Uganda at the U-17 and U-20 levels noted.

Ivan Irinimbabazi smiles at Entebbe International Airport departures | Credit: David Isabirye

16-year-old Yiga is a creative midfielder for the Uganda U-17 national team and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Soccer Academy currently in S5 at Dynamic Secondary School in Mukono.

He will conduct his trials at Scottish super power Glasgow Rangers.

“I will give my all to make sure that I succeed and I am retained in Scotland. This is a big opportunity that I have been yearning and working for in my life. I thank my mother, coaches, Festoweb sports management and everybody who has contributed a brick to my football career” Yiga who roves best as a number nine revealed.

Hon Fredrick Angura officially saw off Alex Yiga and Hakim Kiwanuka at Entebbe International Airport | Credit: David Isabirye

Exciting midfielder Kiwanuka will be placed at St Mirren Football Club, an entity based in Paisley, Renfrewshire.

“I have been working hard and I pray I make It. I want to continue working hard to make my dream of playing professional football become a reality” Kiwanuka who is attached at Proline Football Club stated.

At Entebbe International Airport, Yiga, the first born in the family of five was accompanied by the mother, Regina Nantume and a 7-year-old young brother, Alvin Ssenyonga.

L-R: Alvin Ssenyonga, Regina Nantume and Alex Yiga at Entebbe International Airport moments before Yiga bid good-bye | Credit: David Isabirye

“I have always encouraged my sons to play football. Yiga has been on a bursary scheme since he was in primary school. I pray he succeeds in this career to uplift the family” Nantume, a widow who stays in Busunju, off Mityana – Fort Portal road remarked.

Yiga’s young brother Ssenyonga is also a promising footballer (inverted winger off the left flank), currently in primary five (on a bursary scheme) at Broadway Primary School in Mityana.

Intermediary Hebert Ella Angura with Hakim Kiwanuka at Entebbe International Airport moments before departure | Credit: David Isabirye

For Festoweb Sports Management, it is yet another roll coaster of achievements after that break-through football showcase trip to Spain under Team Fundi arrangement in 2022.

Anaku and Walusimbi transfers to Scottish clubs definitely opened loose the opportunities for other promising Ugandan footballers.

In the coming weeks, two more players will travel to Spain for different trials under the same arrangement.

L-R: Hakim Kiwanuka, Alex Yiga and Ivan Irinimbabazi in Dubai | Credit: Festoweb Sports Management
Veteran sports journalist Francisco Bwambale interviews Alex Yiga at Entebbe International Airport | Credit: David Isabirye
Some of the media personnel who covered the official flag off of three Uganda players to Scotland at Entebbe International Airport | Credit: David Isabirye

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

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