Miya and Kizito’s move to Europe should finally open the doors to even more Ugandans.
It has been quite a while since I wrote this piece. It had a lot to do with my annual leave.
After a hectic year, I had to take some months off. I recently returned expecting the usual slow January but thank God, that was not to be.
Footballers Farouk Miya and Geoffrey “Baba” Kizito have given my return an exciting spin. First, it was striker Miya landing a dream move to Belgian side Standard Liege.
And just when we thought this was probably a one-off, Kizito began what also has all the markings of a successful move to Spanish side Malaga.
I have always said our best talents could play in any of these top leagues. It is only that the respective scouts didn’t seem to care. Thank God they are finally paying attention.
Miya and Kizito’s (pictured below) move to Europe should finally open the doors to even more Ugandans. But much as we wish them the best, it is also incumbent of the players to also deliver their end of the bargain.
You’ve certainly not forgotten what befell Miya’s Vipers FC team-mate Yunus Ssentamu. Sentamu, who many believe was even more gifted than even Miya, was a hit at the last African Nations Championship in South Africa.
There was a scramble for his signature. Congolese club AS Vita eventually got the better of him. His superb striking skills helped the Kinshasa club reach the African final.
He was then signed by Tunisian giants CS Sfaxien. The lucrative European leagues were by all expectations the next destination for the teenager from Kasese. That was never to be.
In fact, Ssentamu hardly played a handful of matches for CS Sfaxien. Sources close to him reveal he was disoriented by a nine figure shilling sign on fee. With the hard life of growing up in rural Kasese still fresh on his mind, he simply couldn’t believe that it was him signing this kind of money. With this excitement came soft life.
To Ssentamu, just like many misguided Ugandan sportsmen, loads of money meant partying. He suddenly saw no reason of again going through the rigors of professional training.
Not even the fact that a little more sacrifice meant even much better pay days seemed to make him see sense. What followed was by all measures the end of what had all the markings of a glorious career.
So, is Miya or Kizito any different or are we yet about to see yet another golden opportunity wasted? I have talked to some people close to these players, and I have been assured that the sky will be the limit for the two.
“They are not only passionate and disciplined but also not the kind to be thrown off balance by money,” a coach who has handled both assured me. That was of course like music to my ears. What more do you expect from stars on the big stage?