By James Bakama
FOR a star who is worth two goals-a-match, Yunus Sentamu is too humble. Even after his sparkling show that put Uganda top of its group on Sunday, Sentamu has maintained a low profile.
The Cranes superstar has kept more to his room at Cape Town’s Garden Court hotel.
“You won’t get him bragging around like most teenagers. Success is not about to get to his head,” notes Haruma Kyobe, the secretary of Sentamu’s club Vipers.
“He is naturally a very humble person,” explains St Juliana Secondary School coach Peter Njuba who first spotted Sentamu in Kasese in 2006.
Njuba however hastily adds that this humility shouldn’t be mistaken for a weakness.
“When it gets to football proper, he flares up. He is also very disciplined and a fast learner,” says Njuba citing several outstanding performances Sentamu has attained particularly in school football.
As Sentamu shot down Burkina Faso in Athlone stadium, Njuba remembered that hot afternoon in Western Uganda’s border town of Kasese when he first saw Sentamu while goalkeeping in a village match.
“I immediately saw something special in him. His game reading and movement were particularly good,” recounts Njuba, who later took the player to Kampala and introduced him St Julian Schools Director Geoffrey Sserunjogi.
A scholarship not only had Sentamu transforming into a striker, but also delving further into academics.
“He loves reading. Unlike most footballers, you will never have him missing a class,” says Sserunjogi.
It’s this love for education that had him missing the last CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup. He was finalizing his A’ Levels at St Mary’s SS Kitende.
The busy schedule at one of Uganda’s most successful schools also had Sentamu featuring in only seven Super League matches for Vipers FC.
But even then, Sentamu’s outstanding skills were evident as he scored seven goals in the same number of matches.
Sentamu might be a new Cranes revelation, but to those who follow schools competitions, he was always destined for big things. In 2011, he top scored with nine goals for St Julian in the Coca Cola Championship.
That this feat was attained at the preliminary stage, said volumes about his talent.
In 2012 he again emerged top scorer as his school beat giants Kitende in the final. Sserunjogi says it’s at that point that he realized that his striker needed not only a bigger school but also a serious club if his talent was to further blossom.
“Sentamu preferred traditional giants Express, KCC or Villa but I saw a better future elsewhere,” explains Sserunjogi.
“I personally took him to then FUFA president Lawrence Mulindwa, who is also Kitende SS and Vipers proprietor.”
On Sentamu’s future, Njuba says the striker has the world at his feet.
As for the ongoing Africa Nations Championship, Njuba believes Sentamu has everything required of a tournament winning executioner.
“He can dribble, shoot as well as score besides falling back as a support player. What more do you need?”