DUBLIN - Charles Livingstone Mbabazi may be unpopular in his home country of Uganda after failing to turn up for international duty two weeks ago, but the striker is still a hero in Inchicore after he inspired St Patrickâ€™s Athletic to a 4-1 win over Cork City and pushed them up to third place in the league table.
Mbabazi still has some explaining to do to his fellow Ugandans after he went AWOL hours before Cranes African Nations Cup tie against Black Stars, but he was the toast of Dublin 8 Monday night as he scored two goals and created another to help Pats earn their first league win in four games and keep up the pressure on leaders Bohemians and second-placed Cork.
Chants of â€œCharlie for Irelandâ€ showed that the Pats fans would be happy to see their hero in a green shirt if the Uganda FA decide to ban or suspend their Dublin-based star from the senior international side after his disappearing act, but Mbabazi told the Evening Herald that he hopes to play for his country again and added that personal problems were the cause of his failure to play in the match against Ghana.
â€œThere were some personal issues for me which made me decide not to play, but I will talk to the football federation at home and explain to them what happened. Itâ€™s only me who knows what the truth is,â€ said Mbabazi after Mondayâ€™s stunning display.
â€œThere were no problems between myself and the national team coach or the football federation.â€
â€œThe coach was disappointed with me because I let him down, the whole country was depending on me to play against Ghana. So everyone in Uganda is disappointed with me and some of them donâ€™t like me now,â€ he said.
â€œBut I hope they can all cool down and I will talk too them after a while and tell them the truth of what happened,â€ he told the Evening Herald.
â€œItâ€™s just nice to be back against Cork. It was a big game for me because I had not been playing for a while, so to come back and score was a nice feeling. My back is still sore and I am not able to train, but I hope to be fully fit soon.â€
If Mbabazi could wreak that kind of havoc on Cork City while not 100 % fit, the City defenders got away lightly. Cork were 4-0 down after just over 60 minutes.
Pat boss Dolan was delighted to see Mbabazi in such good form. â€œWe have some real entertainers in this team, nobody in this league sparkles like Charles in terms of pure flair. He is awesome,â€ said Saints manager Dolan.
â€œWhatever they think of him in Uganda, he is the King of Inchicore. When the truth comes out about his situation, Iâ€™m sure people will realise, he is a special person and a special talent. He doesnâ€™t have to explain to me or to justify himself. I know how hard he worked to try and get to that game in Uganda, and the answer he gave me was very logical.
â€œWhat Iâ€™m concerned about is his welfare. He has been through an awful lot, the emotional stress he suffers from is much higher than the ordinary person and it causes problems for him.â€
â€œ I am delighted for him, he has had a lot of bad days recently and last night was a great day for him.â€
Chants Of â€˜Charlie For Irelandâ€™ As Prodigal Son Mbabazi Shines