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TOP 10 LIST: Ugandan football prospects

JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE looks at Ugandan football’s Top 10 revelations that could go on to become world beaters

1. IBRAHIM JUMA SADDAM (BUNAMWAYA)

Juma won the Tivoli Cup (Denmark) in 2003 and 2004 plus the Gothia Cup (Sweden) in 2003. That brought him into the limelight especially because Juma scored 25 goals in 13 matches at the first attempt in the under-11 tournament then.

He has again excited football fans in his first season at Bunamwaya. His mature approach for a said 17-year old without over-elaborating is hard to find. His execution of the free-kicks, incisive passing, stylish finishing and creativity are an indication of a real good footballer. However, his six goals in the league so far is an understatement to the work he puts in for Bunamwaya.

2. DENNIS GUMA (SC VILLA)

Another product of the KKL regime, the Old Kampala Secondary School student oozes flair in the Villa setup especially. The 17-year old lad controls the ball so well and is a good tackler. He can play across the board in defense and has good timing in the air with undoubted man-marking skills. He also has a high degree of calmness with the way he passes the ball long or short; coupled with good dribbling.

3. JOSEPH OCHAYA (KCC FC)

With the emergence of this tall and lanky fellow, KCC FC fans must be wondering what the hell they were crying for at the departure of their left-back last season, Sam Senoga. Ochaya, 17, has long legs. This has made him provide lots of width for his team bearing in mind that he makes long strides on the run. In fact, this is his strong point defensively.

The long legs enable him intercept lots of penetrative passes. He’s also good at pivoting and as such covers his central defenders well. His crossing is precise and effective. He also packs a hard shot and above all, he’s a very elegant player. Uganda’s left-back position is secure and highly competitive with Villa’s Godfrey Walusimbi and Bunamwaya’s Habib Kavuma also available.

4. PATRICK EDEMA (NALUBAALE FC)

Somehow, somewhere, the revelations reviewed so far are 17 years old. And so is Edema. Five league goals so far this season, it’s no mean feat for a player in a very young team largely and also appearing at this level for the first time.

He has had rave reviews from Cranes coach Bobby Williamson about his potential and rightly so. For a big man that leads the line as a sole striker for Nalubaale, Edema uses his size really well to dislodge markers. He’s a hard-worker that runs defenders rugged. He’s a skillful player with the ability to dribble past defenders and also create goals. He’s also a good header of the ball too but can become better.

5. ISAAC KIRABIRA (SC VILLA)

Formerly the talismanic Captain of Jogoo Young, Villa’s academy team, Kirabira is staking a claim for Villa’s most outstanding revelation this season. He had a few cameos in the Villa jersey last season but it’s in this season that he has been handed the keys of the engine room.

It would be demeaning to compare anyone to ex-international and Villa midfielder Paul Nkata, but this kid who’s a Nkata product has the right attributes. He controls the ball finely, can dribble and above all pass with finesse. His vision is good and the way he balances ball distribution is admirable. Maybe he needs to improve his ball interception like the teacher (Nkata) used to and also be tougher in the tackle and build more muscle.

6. GIFT ALI (ARUA CENTRAL)

Muscle and size is what Ali has. In more ways than one, he has the attributes of Musa Mudde, Cranes/Simba midfielder. Ali is a thinking player that will rarely make the wrong pass. He plays with a lot of confidence like his team isn’t in relegation trouble. He dominates affairs in Arua Central’s team by orchestrating things, inspiring and providing imagination from which Arua has scored its goals. Although he will need to up his speed, his stellar performances in midfield haven’t gone unnoticed.

7. IVAN NTEGE (KCC FC)

The little man first shot to the limelight when he played for the victorious Ffumbe clan in the Bika Bya’Baganda football championship 2009. He’s really fast at running with the ball and so is he when he goes on a dribbling spree. On many occasions, coach Sam Ssimbwa has brought him on as a substitute and he has bamboozled opponents with his fast movement.

He’s most deadly near the penalty area with defense splitting passes. He also plays box-to-box and makes you feel nostalgic if you ever watched Hakim Magumba in his heydays at Villa. He’s exciting.

8. SULA MATOVU (NALUBAALE)

Exciting is surely the way to define Malouda as Matovu is commonly referred to by the Nalubaale (Proline) faithful. A fan of Chelsea’s Florent Malouda, Matovu’s love for the Frenchman has even seen him don the shirt 15 like the Chelsea star.

He’s one player who thrives a lot when the crowd is behind him cheering every run he ventures out on. He’s so resourceful on the counter-attack because of his speed and is relatively okay in the dribble. His shooting is normally hard and on target. Although question marks still arise in as far as his final ball is concerned when it’s his turn to create, his presence stretches defenses.

9. KIPSON ATUHEIRE (SC VILLA)

The 19-year-old’s brilliant start at Villa has been marred by injury that has kept him out of the team lately. The six goals scored by the first year student at Makerere University so far aren’t reflective of the kind of work he has put in at Villa since his arrival. He plays all over the field and has the ability to finish and create goals in equal measure. He’s a gifted player in the mould of Hassan Mubiru and barring injury, he has the confidence to hit the right notes beyond this season.

10. BRIAN MAJWEGA (KCC FC)

The senior six vacationist may be missing at KCC lately but his performances so far in the Super League haven’t missed the eye. He’s the best left-winger in the league and his dribbling has left many defenses sprawling. He’s quick and his propensity to pick-out a free team-mate where many may not look is high. He thus remains very creative and a joy to watch. He’s really stylish and the smoothness with which he beats opponents is amazing.

jovi@observer.ug

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