“If I was given chance I would be in the Cranes. Some of the people I played with like Abdul Lumala, Kizito Luwagga and Mike Mutyaba are now with the Cranes.”
Growing up on the Western outskirts of Kampala Shafik Kiwanuka never dreamt of becoming a boxer.
“I wanted to be like Magid Musisi. My first love was football,” revealed the towering boxer who recently won the African heavyweight title.
And he did go on to become a good footballer. He played for Express FC’s second-string side in the Big League.
“I was their lead striker at number-9 and 10. I was banging in goals like Peter Crouch,” recounts Kiwanuka in reference to the English star who stands at 6ft 5in. Kiwanuka is 6ft 6in.
“I would most likely be in the Cranes today. I believe I was better talented in soccer than boxing.”
Kiwanuka, however, reveals that he was discouraged from his passion by corruption in football.
“There is a lot of corruption in football. To be named on the first eleven, you had to pay the coach.
I had team-mates who were even parting with huge portions of their salaries for the coach. I realized this was not for me and I left.”
Stories abound in the beautiful game of team officials who have grown wealthy by fleecing players. Some officials are even accused of taking huge chunks of players’ transfer fees.
But Kiwanuka, 23, still looks back to his football days with nostalgia.
“If I was given a chance I would be in the Cranes. Some of the people I played with like Abdul Lumala, Kizito Luwagga, and Mike Mutyaba are now with the Cranes.”
He, however, notes that he is better off in boxing. “I don’t have to pay anyone to get a fight. I get fights, and all I have to do is fulfill my bit of winning.”
He budding prizefighting career boasts of three fights, two of these have been by knockout. The last one was a World Boxing Federation title fight at the International University of East Africa