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    INTERVIEW: Ismael Watenga Reveals How He Ended Up In Chippa, Opens Up About His Brotherhood With Onyango And Why He’s Always On The Move…

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    Ismael Watenga in South Africa

    Ugandan goal keeper, Ismael Watenga has been linked with 4 different teams in less than three years after leaving Vipers SC towards the end of 2018.

    Watenga made a landmark signing this season with South African side, Chippa United. The Chilli Boys confirmed the arrival of the Cecafa Cup-winning goalkeeper after he had trained with rivals and PSL champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

    Watenga intimated to theGrapevine about how he ended up at Chippa, and what really happened. He also opened up about his mysterious short spells in Ethiopia and Kenya.

    Watenga also revealed why he left Vipers where he enjoyed a successful seven-year stint, Watenga also won a domestic trophy and on the international front, he won the 2015 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Ethiopia.

    Here is the full interview of Watenga with theGrapevine;

    THE GRAPEVINE: You have been labeled a club traveller by football pundits of late for your adventurous moves from soccer clubs, how does that appeal to you?

    WATENGA: That’s their own opinion. Ask those pundits if it’s bad to develop as a player. Everytime I move, I be aiming at better.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So, you still haven’t found better after less than 3 years in 3 different clubs since departing from Vipers in 2018?

    WATENGA: I have now gathered experience from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and now S. Africa. I don’t think that’s bad. And now that I’ve come here (S Africa), I’ve found it the most competitive.

    THE GRAPEVINE: What are the challenges you’ve faced playing in S.A PL so far?

    WATENGA: Not so many professional challenges, maybe personal troubles. It’s honestly not easy playing away from home, I’m always home sick. You find different cultures, and different people with various behavioural patterns yet you have to fit in.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Your stay in Ethiopia was very short, why did you leave so early? What exactly happened?

    WATENGA: For Ethiopia, the club got another coach who wanted to use only home based players. I worked so hard and felt I should’ve helped the team sometimes I was not fielded. But it seemed like he was determined about his motive to rely on only home based players. I had to leave.

    THE GRAPEVINE: And what went wrong in the Sofapaka deal?

    WATENGA: I met their expectations but they couldn’t reward me equally.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But you left very soon as you had joined with all the other Ugandans Malunda Mousa and Allan Katwe. Was it the same challenge for all of you in Kenya?

    WATENGA: I will speak for myself. For me, I had signed 1 year contract with a clause of leaving anytime I get the offer. So after a time the president thought I was good enough to help the team and told me to extend the contract and my agent tasked him to improve my earnings, which did not happen.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But some reports indicate that you left Sofapaka after a heated argument arising from you and the management from an alleged match fixing scandal.

    WATENGA: What I know is that my agent formally failed to agree with the club. The club proposed their offer which my agent was not happy with.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So for you it’s all about the money?

    WATENGA: This is my job, and I have the right to earn well from it, but I had to leave because the team wanted players who would sign longer contracts to stay for more years, that’s why I left.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You were so big here and you chose to leave. You were shining here. In S. Africa at the moment, you’re not even guaranteed to start games, isn’t that going to degrade your good form?

    WATENGA: But staying in the same league (UPL) for years was not improving me either. I was not growing as a goalkeeper.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But do you also think about it that so many big clubs here would surely welcome you back with both arms wide open.

    WATENGA: I’d rather stay here and fight for my place as a foreign player at Chippa or Mamelodi than comfortably stand between the goal posts back home at Vipers or any other club?

    THE GRAPEVINE: You’re a very big prospect in Uganda’s goal keeping future, and you made regular appearances on the CHAN team before you left for professional football outside Uganda, and it has clearly been harder for you to break into the senior team ranks since, do you at any time feel you should’ve stayed home to make it easier for you to cement your position on the national team?

    WATENGA: I have no regrets. Maybe I’m not making the national team call-up list, but I’m not the same player I was back home in Uganda. The vast experience from different leagues has nurtured me more.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Is that honest from you? Every football player’s dream is to represent their nation.

    WATENGA: That’s what I’m saying, I’ll work hard from here (S.Africa) and return to the national team, the hard way. A strong man doesn’t choose the easy path because he knows well that it will lead him nowhere. A real man fights his way out the hard way. And the most successful people are those who have manned up to face the challenges and overcome them. You can’t sleep at home and wake up great tommorow. The only thing now is to keep on working hard the right time will come.

    THE GRAPEVINE: And to be more specific, you left for S. Africa on Mamelodi’s invitation, what happened to see you now at Chippa instead?

    WATENGA: I have a short term contract with Chippa United. But I aim for the top, if Mamelodi is the best here, that’s my target, I’ll work so hard to go there.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So what’s your next destination after S. Africa?

    WATENGA: I am not a tourist. I am a football player who came here with a purpose.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But we have seen you leave Ethiopia and Sofapaka on very short notice before, you could be secretly planning another quick move away from S. Africa.

    WATENGA: I leave South Africa now, to where? This is the best league in Africa! I want to settle in here.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You could maybe head to N. Africa where there’s such good competition as well, or even Sudan which has become a good market for Ugandan players.

    WATENGA: I have a running contract here and so I can’t again start thinking about where to go when I’m still here. I believe there are millions of players in Africa who wish to come and ply their trade here.

    THE GRAPEVINE: How do you cope up with life so far away from home?

    WATENGA: I miss my family so much. I wish to be with them, and I know they miss me too. But good thing is they know I’m far away from them to create a better life ahead for all of them.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Doesn’t that create emptiness within your kids and trust issues in your relationship with your wife?

    WATENGA: It’s not the first time. I was in Ethiopia and Kenya before. They all know I am here for work so they understand. We always talk on video calls so it’s like we are always together.

    THE GRAPEVINE: What do you count as your greatest achievement as a footballer so far?

    WATENGA: Now let me remind you just in case you’re forgetting, I came from a small village in Nakaloke, Eastern Uganda, and now I’m signed here as a professional footballer with a big S. African club. For me, that’s too much already. I believe I wouldn’t be here if not for football.

    THE GRAPEVINE: What is your best moment in football so far?

    WATENGA: I’ve created many good memories in football, and I’ve had so many precious moments in football I can’t choose one specific time.

    THE GRAPEVINE: And your worst moment as a player?

    WATENGA: I can’t forget when I got ruled out of the CHAN tournament with a nasty injury in Rwanda. I was psychologically tortured. I know it’s part of my job but it’s a horrible experience to get injured.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You look so contented with staying here (S. Africa)

    WATENGA: When I came here (S. Africa), I linked up with Dennis Onyango and Moses Waiswa, they really helped me alot to adapt.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So you’re having a great time here?

    WATENGA: Yes, as a fact, when I was still training with Mamelodi Sundowns, Onyango could personally pick me up to go for training in his car. I felt like I was home so far away from home.

    THE GRAPEVINE: It’s evident Onyango likes you so much. He freely expresses it on many occasions.

    WATENGA: I think it’s a blessing to be loved and I thank God for that. He’s such a humble guy.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Is he preparing you to be his successor?

    WATENGA: Hahaha He’s just good to everyone. He advises me on how to do things on and off the pitch. I don’t think he in his capacity as a player can choose which player should play. That’s not his job.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You have been exceptionally articulate. Your communication skills are impressive.

    WATENGA: Hahaha I was at one of the best schools in Uganda (Kitende) So what do you expect?

    THE GRAPEVINE: How is your relationship with your former principal Mulindwa ever since you left Kitende?

    WATENGA: He will forever be my father.

    THE GRAPEVINE: When did you last talk to him?

    WATENGA: I have taken long with out meeting him. And you know Mulindwa is a very busy man. He can only meet you on special appointment. We’re given only a maximum of three weeks off season with so many things to do so here and there. But next time I come back to Uganda I’ll have to meet him.

    By Baron Kironde

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    NATIONAL

    Bobi Wine Summons NUP Legislators To Strategise On How To Save MP Zaake…

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    NUP boss Bobi Wine (L) and Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake

    National Unity Platform (NUP) Principal Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine has summoned his party legislators to strategise on how to save Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Butebi Zaake from angry parliamentary leadership.

    According to credible sources in NUP, the meeting is expected to take place next week at their party headquarters in Kamwokya.

    Last week, Bobi Wine blasted his legislators for not giving enough support to their own (Zaake) when he was protesting deputy speaker Thomas Tayebwa’s ruling stopping him from debating the ongoing abduction of people especially in Buganda.

    “I want to salute Hon. Francis Zaake and tell him that as an individual, I am very proud of him. NUP is very proud of you and Ugandans that were abducted are very proud of you. Thank you for not conforming to the nonsense of parliament, thank you for not shutting up, thank you for doing exactly what you were elected to do,” he said.

    Even though Bobi Wine praised Zaake, Tayebwa referred him to the parliamentary disciplinary committee and the hearing of his matter kicked off on Tuesday.

    However, sources in NUP revealed that Bobi Wine wants his legislators to put up a spirited fight to frustrate the move of disciplining Zaake.

    These were days after the Speaker of parliament Annet Anita Among warned Zaake that parliament will take criminal action against him to recover the institution’s properties he declined to return after being removed from the position of the parliamentary commissioner.

    Among told parliament that Zaake declined to return the parliamentary car even though he has been informed in writing to return it

    Former Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa advised Bobi Wine to investigate Busiro East legislator Medard Lubega Ssegona who was acting as the Leader of Opposition on the day Zaake protested because he was the one who stopped other opposition legislators from joining Zaake and telling him to move out of the plenary.

    One of Bobi Wine’s Personal Assistant Julius Katongole said that the motive of the meeting that Bobi Wine summoned is not to condemn or attack anyone but it is about guiding them on how to work together and use parliament to fight president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s bad acts against poor Ugandans.

    He rubbished allegations making rounds that Bobi Wine summoned the legislators to introduce to them their new parliamentary leadership after firing Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba from the position of Leader of Opposition in Parliament.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    Panic At KCCA As M7 Directs Minister Magyezi To Investigate RCC Burora Claim On Misuse Of PDM Cash…

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    Lubaga deputy RCC Burora (L) and Minister Magyezi (R)

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed in writing the local government minister Raphael Magyezi to investigate the allegation made by Lubaga Division Deputy Resident City Commissioner(RCC) Anderson Burora against Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on mismanagement of the government Parish Development Modal cash.

    Minister Magyezi confirmed the development and said that the president directed him to present his findings to cabinet by the coming Monday so that the ministers discuss the matter.

    He said that the president was very concerned with the allegation made by Burora and praised him for standing his ground and speaksoff to the alleged government officials.

    Magyezi told theGrapevine that the president wants other Resident District Commissioners (RDC) to do what Burora did to inspect government projects for the good of the country.

    Last week, Burora suspended the operations of Parish Development Model citing irregularities in implementing the program by allocating the funds to people who are not supposed to benefit from it.

    “We have seen lists bearing names of people who are well off, who own cars, are salary earners and those who own big shops being fronted for Parish Development Model. The project was intended for the 39% population that lives hand-to-mouth, not those who surpassed that level,” Burora said.

    However, Aisha Nabisere, the KCCA Parish Development Model coordinator rubbished Burora’s allegations insisting that he was spreading falsehoods.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    Lord Mayor Lukwago Reveals How KCCA Bosses are Conniving With City Tycoons To Swindle USD100M Hiding Under President’s Directive On Markets…

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    Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago has narrated how top Kampala Capital City Authority(KCCA) bosses are conniving with city tycoons to swiddle USD100M under the guise of implementing President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s directives on city markets.

    Lukwago said that he has landed on clandestine plans designed by KCCA technical wing bosses and ministers to procure 10 acres of land in Kampala Central Division at a price of USD100m which is very high.

    He revealed that the said land that is situated in Kisenyi parish belongs to John Bosco Muwonge, a city businessman who they want to front to built a public market as Museveni directed.

    Last month, Museveni met KCCA bosses and directed them to build at least two public markets in all the five Divisions that make up Kampala city.

    Lukwago said that without following the legal procedures, some fraudulent city businessmen have started approaching KCCA to offer their land to be purchased for the market with big commission offers to some KCCA bosses.

    Lukwago insists these businessmen want to sell their land to KCCA at a high price without following the legal requirements and it is the reason why he has summoned the city council meeting to discuss the matter next week.

    When contacted, Joseph Kabuye Kyofatogabye, the KCCA State Minister rubbished the accusation, and asked Lukwago to prove his allegations with evidence.

    “For me, I don’t know how to execute deals but I know Lord Mayor Lukwago is an expert in making deals,” Kabuye said.

    Businessman Muwonge was not reached for a comment.

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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