For the past couple of weeks, Wakiso Giants football club has been a usual resident of the sports segment of the Nile Post because of the club’s rare transfer power for a club playing in the country’s second division, The Big league.
The fascination about it has been their ability to attract top players some leaving clubs in the prestigious Uganda Premier league and opting to play for a lower division side.
Sources close to the club say it is the financial muscle, generosity and ambition of the club director, a one Musa Atagenda.
At Wakiso Giants, majority of the players were given eight figure sign on fees and promised six figure salaries something almost unheard of in the Big league.
The owners have injected in millions of Uganda shillings in the club’s identity and brand.
During their first training session at the Islamic University in Uganda’s Kabojja campus, one would easily mistake the team for the national team.
State of the art modern training equipment like Cons, Balls, bibs and jerseys were in plenty. The team looked neat in their orange and blue training kits. From the undertones I gather that they are soon landing a club bus.
The coach Ibrahim Kirya was tasked to identify the 23 players he trusts to promote the team into the country’s top tier and it is perhaps not surprising that he settled for those he had worked with during his earlier stints in the Uganda premier league with SC Villa, URA FC, and others. After all, better the devil you know than the angel you don’t.
Kirya admits that the challenge is new but doesn’t take rocket science to achieve.
‘People say I have not promoted any team from the big league before, but football is the same whether in the Big league or Uganda premier league. We play one ball, with each team having eleven players aside. Most of the players I have played for me before and I know they can deliver.’
Among the players he will be looking at is attacking midfielder Moses Feni Ali. The former URA player says Kirya is like his football father.
‘I take coach Kirya like a father to me. He is the one who took me to SC Villa where I got my introduction to top league football. But also Musa (The owner) is a simple man. He is one guy who would release you if a good offer came’.
To some players like former Uganda cranes and SC villa midfielder Steven Bengo and ex KCCA FC defender Hassan Wasswa Dazo (who just recovered from a broken leg), Wakiso Giants is a stepping stone to relaunch their careers than appeared to have come to a halt lately.
‘This is an opportunity for me to prove that I can still play top football and even exceed the level I had reached at KCCA FC before I got injured’ Dazo said. ‘
Bengo revealed that he turned down offers from bigger clubs to join the second Divison outfit.
‘I had offers from other clubs I can’t mention but Wakiso Giants ambitions were similar to mine and that’s why I accepted their proposal.’
By the standards of Ugandan football, if the evident big investment made by the owners of Wakiso Giants is anything to go by, perhaps it is worth a place in the country’s top tier. But the Machiavellian nature of the beautiful game is such that you do not always get what you deserve.