Uganda Kobs Holding Uganda's Dream
Coach Bobby Robert Williamson.

Uganda Kobs Holding Uganda's Dream


Uganda Kobs: Kasozi Ramathan, profiles some of the soccer players carrying Uganda’s cross to Maputo.

By Ramathan Kasozi
more from author >>
First published: August 2, 2011


Uganda’s under 23 soccer team, the Kobs broke the 11 years jinx when they qualified for the All African games due next month (September) in Maputo, Mozambique. The Kobs had last qualified for the games in 1999 held in Johannesburg, South Africa.


The road to Maputo, seems to have been a land slide as the Kobs found no stiff resistance in the qualifiers.  The Uganda Kobs journey enroute Maputo crashed Tanzania 5-2 on aggregate before mauling archrival Kenya 5-1 in Nairobi. As a result, the Kenyans opted to dishonor the second leg in Kampala.

Analysts however, forecast a baptism of fire ahead of the Kobs in Maputo having been drawn in a what many say is the group of death. Uganda is pooled alongside African heavy weights, Ghana, Cameroon and Senegal.  Nevertheless, the technical team headed by the Senior team head coach, Bobby Robert Williamson assures Ugandans that his boys posses the credentials to take on any team on the continent.

Kasozi Ramathan, profiles some of the soccer players carrying Uganda’s cross to Maputo.


Bobby Robert Williamson
Bobby Robert Williamson.

Bobby Robert Williamson.

Duty: National Head Coach

Hypothyetically, the team is handled by George Ssemwogerere and George ‘Best’ Nsimbe but it is in glass that it’s Bobby Williamson masterminding everything in this team.

The Scot arrived in the country in 2008 succeeding Lazlo Csaba who had thrown in the towel for greener pastures elsewhere at Hearts United in Scotland.  Within a short spell, Bobby has taken Uganda’s football to the another level.  He took over the coaching mantle of the Cranes, when ranked 108th in the world but has climbed to as high as 66th position.

Bobby Williamson has instilled a high level of professionalism in the Uganda game, winning two regional CECAFA Championships and guiding the country to the CHAN finals ( African Cup for local based players only)  held in Sudan last year (2011.)

The senior team (Uganda Cranes)is also on verge of breaking the 33 years jinx of not appearing in the finals of the African Cup of Nations. The Cranes just need a point of the possible six to qualify to the finals due next year in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Game reading and team selection are Bobby’s strongest points.

Goal keepers

Kimera Ali

Club: Victors FC

Age: 20years

One of the fast rising talents in Uganda’s goal keeping department. Kimera has been a key figure in the qualifiers, conceding only two goals. A very good game reader with acrobatic reflex saves. He has mastered when and when not to come off the line. He reminds you of Hussein Ssaali, formally of KCC FC. African giant clubs like Motema pembe of Democratic Republic OF Congo have already been attracted by his talent. Height is his only undoing.

Benjamin Ochan

Club: SC Villa

Age: 21

Ochan was the first choice ahead of Kimera but his haulers against Tanzania in the first leg at Namboole stadium didn’t only tarnish his name but also meant that he had to surrender the gloves to Kimera. Ochan is more experienced than Kimera, having been an integral part in the 2008/2009 KCC FC dream team that shook the continent in the African Club Champions League. No question about his talent but inconsistency in form remains his key weakness. But there is no denying he is a short stopper who is also good at one on one situation. He has just signed for SC Villa from the Jinja based side Victors FC ongoing transfer window.

Full backs

Ayub Kisalita

Age: 21

Club: Bunamwaya FC

He is among the few utility players in the local league who can be adjusted easily in a game depending on the demands of the moment. Think of a player who is as good on the left full back as on the right and in central defense. He has also been often used in the defensive midfield at club level.

By time of writing this story, Kisalita was still engaged in a transfer wrangle involving his club Bunamwaya and SC Villa, where he wanted to cross to. He is said to have pocketed Seven Million shillings from Villa but Bunamwaya isn’t willing to let him go.

Godfrey Walusimbi

Club: Bunamwaya FC

Age 22

One of the most experienced player on the team by virtue of being a regular starter of the senior national team, the Cranes. A replica of his senior, Nestroy Kizito with superb game reading and timely tackles. Walusimbi commonly known as ‘JJaaja Walu’ loves going forward and is at times on score sheets. Flash back his mockery strike against Guinea Bissau at Namboole. He is the most pint sized player on the team but the hardest and the most difficult to beat on the ball. He however, needs to improve on his crosses.

Centre backs

Dennis Guma

Age: 20

Club: SC Villa

A complete ball player with everything needed in the modern game of football except height. He can play as a sweeper, stopper, full back and defensive midfielder as well with comfort. A calm, cool and good organizer of defense who is seen as the next Ibrahim Ssekajja. At times Guma can miss the ball, at times the leg of the opponent but it is very rare that he can miss the two at ago. High tempers remains his undoing. Those who attended  a Super League game against Victors last Season at Kakindu Stadium can witness. Guma lost his tempers and punched a security personnel in a one all draw game that was marred with violence. His club coach Srdjan Sevojnov, describes Guma as rare breed of player. “Guma is a rough diamond that only needs polishing. If not self destructed, the sky will be the limit,” applauds the Serbian. 

Isaac Isinde

Age ;21

Club: St George

The Ethiopian based defender, formally of Victors FC and Simba FC, is one of the defenders  climbing the ladders of Ugandan football very fast. Like most of Ugandan players, Isinde Is disadvantaged by size but he devises means to prove his critics wrong. Good in intercepting passes but is at times criticized for his reckless tickles.

Ivan Bukenya

Age 20

Club: Proline FC

A gangly player whose body size can deceive you that is above the under 23 age bracket. Very comportable on the ball both in air and on ground. His pace is wanting though. Bukenya’s reckless tuckles often rewards him with send- offs and bookings. 

Midfielders

 Owen Kasule

Age: 22

Club: Bunamwaya FC

He is  the team skipper. One of the best skilled players in the country whose game reading and passing reminds you of Willy Kyambadde during his prime days at KCC FC and Express FC. Kasule is however injury prone. 
 

Mutyaba Mike

Age: 20

He posses tactical skills that are beyond his years and displays amazing maturity on the pitch. A very unpredictable play maker and a master of set pieces. He however at times holds onto the ball for long.

Saddam Juma

Age: 21

The Vietnam based midfielder, is a talented and tricky player who can score goals that often get goalkeepers napping. His only blemish is being a bit selfish. Saddam’s passing and movement on the pitch is a joy to watch. His decision to switch from Ugandan League to Vietnam, seem to have paid off financial wise but criticized career wise. 

Moses Oloya

Age 22

Another player plying his trade in Vietnam.  Oloya has been very instrumental in the qualifiers especially with his terrific pace that often unsettles defenders. He is however, extravagant with wasting scoring opportunities.

Sula Matovu

Age : 19

Club : St George

Malouda, as he is popularly known in Uganda, Matovu has been a regular figure in the qualifiers as expected due to his drop in form. Ever since he defected to Ethiopian for greener pastures, Matovu appears not the same player while at Proline FC. However, this shouldn’t over shadow his incredible pace, dribbling and glittering soft left foot. He is a kind of a player who can single handedly take on any defense on a good day.

Strikers

Hamis ‘Diego’ Kizza

Age: 22

Club: Simba SC, Tanzania.

What a season for the former Nalubbaale FC player!! He scooped the golden boot of the ECO-bank Uganda Super League scoring 14 goals and he is partly the reason why the team is in the All African games. He scored five goals in four matches during the qualifiers. His efforts have been rewarded with lucrative move to Tanzanian giants Simba FC from Ugandan Champions URA SC. If there is anything that this boy mastered, should be tapping in and finishing off rebounds. Positioning is his key weapon.  Diego should however often visit the gym to work on his body size, height notwithstanding.

Emmanuel Okwi

Age: 22

Club: Simba SC, Tanzania

A dashing striker who has an eagle eye for goal. Though not muscular in size but is able to beat his opponents using pace and Skill. Okwi is a dependable player with a hard shot   He is currently unsettled trying to secure a more lucrative move from Simba SC.

Uganda's Kobs
Uganda's Kobs.

By Ramathan Kasozi
more from author >>
First published: August 2, 2011
To learn more about Ultimate Media Consult go to www.ultimatemediaconsult.com.

Ramathan Kasozi is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. . A graduate Journalist, Kasozi has more than 5 years experience reporting on sports in Uganda for different print and broadcast media houses.