Onduparaka fanatics were frantic because not only were they at the brink of losing their second in command leader Toha Rashid but also talisman Muhammad Shaban to Super Sports United of South Africa if not for their brave decision of considering a home comeback instead of embracing the offer of joining a second divison side Stellenbosch under instruction and advise of Super Sports.
From day one when Shaban took pictures with KCCA’s big men signaling interest of departing, to when he was stripped of the band without open reasons.
Then finally blatantly revealing through his Facebook page that he and his friend Toha were destined to ABSA premier league club Super Sports United for trials, fans had been worried because they felt the gap left would be unfillable.
Of course it makes logic to some groups that began following the club in the second half of the big league when the then 17-year-old joined and scored 7 goals in the Uganda cup and 13 in the countries second tier.
Not forgetting the fact that he was very competitive in scoring goals during the first half of Azam Uganda Premier League 2016/2017 season.
If not for the suspensions and injuries he incurred in the round two of the league, the teenager would have been a hard nut to crack for 33-year-old veteran Geofrey Sserunkuma who finished the league’s top scorer with 21 goals nevertheless Shaban thumped 13 goals making him the second top scorer.
True that in the matches the club’s all-time top scorer with 33 goals did not play, the entire team faced difficulties and whenever he played his impact resulted into direct goal scored by him or team mate scoring.
One thing, only and only the residents of Onduparaka village know besides the management of the team is that long before Shaban, and so was Onduparaka.
During the division games, regional and the first round of the big league there was Agau Rashid and Tabu Vitalis.
Let’s talk about Agau because Tabu is history
Years ago, nicknamed Torres due to his high rate of converting goals, Agau Rashid is an experience, talented, skillful footballer and proven goal scorer.
As the main center forward, Agau scored goals during his child hood career for KKL in both Gothia and Tivoli Cup in Denmark and Sweden in the early 2000s.
Scored match winning and trophy lifting goals for Old Kampala SS, and Kitende SS during Post primary games both in the regional, national level and East African level.
Records have it that as much as Tabu the then captain scored several notable goals, Agau who was positioned in number nine often accessed the net for Onduparaka no wonder the club reached the level Shaban found.
Agau might have dropped form in Shaban’s era, attributed to lack of interest and hard work in the game, the naturally talented striker could also have lost his splendor because of being miss-positioned.
Since Shaban had won the hearts of all, in the center forward position hence Agau being pushed to left wing, the striker could have gotten demoralized and discouraged, coupled with his style of play. Say, inability to drop behind to help defenders, the boy from Oli Division, Arua hill municipality struggled last season.
Imagine Mbabazi and Adraa entrusted Agau once more with the position that allows an able person to enjoy notching goals in the absence of Shaban, what were the opponent defenders bound to experience in this coming season? Rain of goals!
Style of Play
It might not be easy to say if the instruction was from the coach or the team automatically adapted the style, Shaban’s hunger for goals convinced his team mates who believed in him alone to score goals.
His pace and speed would trigger players to pass long balls to him of which indeed he made use very excellently. So whenever his was absent, the inexperienced players resisted to adapt with other ways of play.
Assuming Shaban succeeded with Super Sports United, the players would have understood and be forced by all means to introduce other style of play.
Responsibility and dependency syndrome factor
Those days, apparently the responsibility of scoring goals was vested upon the 19-year-old, the belief of the young team made them irresponsible that the diseases affected their performance health in fixtures that Shaban was ineligible to feature, remember what KCCA did to them at Lugogo?
The state of the team was like a family that believed kitchen was only accessed by Mummy and food was only financed by Daddy, washing of cars and fixing bulb was done by boys, as washing utensil was a girly job.
The question then remains, when there is no daddy, no mummy no brother and no sister, what happens?
Doesn’t mummy go to the market to sale tomatoes so as to buy food? Doesn’t daddy enter the kitchen so that food gets prepared?
Doesn’t sister wash the car and fix the bulb, doesn’t brother wash utensil so that food is eaten on clean plates?
Mbabazi was hired to coach the Caterpillars when the team had no style of play and was young both in age and experience.
The Irish trained tactician honestly told the management that based on the state in which he found the club, he only guarantees helping the team remain in the top flight.
However promised in the second season, when given the chance to develop his own policy and implement it without interruption and interference, the club could be a force to reckon.
A coach who has experience and knowledge in both playing the game and training shouldn’t be taken for granted but for his words after all another secret behind winning football matches is believe.
The reshuffling, restructuring, and releasing of players and employees.
When a company or organization reshuffles, restructures and fires some employees, then probably they’ve realized where the loop holes are and it’s for the good of the entity.
Specifically the release of player of Akram Kakembo’s kind was necessary much as his performance was unquestionable but his indiscipline could have negative impact in the long run including influencing other players.
Abled goal keeping coach Moses Oloya’s return from Somalia national football team to Onduparaka is great news as his contribution to the newly signed goal keeper Nicolas Sebwato who replaces the released Nisar Kasim could fix the many goal keeping errors witnessed the previous season.
The release of the other players such as Toko Fahad, Olema Hamza, Chombe Douglas, Babu Iddi, Kisseka Mahad and Matua Joshua who seemed a liability saves the club from unnecessary financial expenses.
Their salary can then be diverted to increase the salary of other hopeful and serious players as a motivating factor.
The new signings have definitely increased the size of the squad not only quantitatively but also slightly qualitatively compared to the size of the previous season.
Besides upgrading Ajobe Toto from a junior side, the signing of Nicolas Sebwato, Aniku Osso, Okocha Rashid, Vianney Ssekajugo, Allan Busobozi, Ezra Bida, Bob Kasozi, Aggrey Kirya, Alfred Leku (yet to join), Rajab Kakooza, and Karim Ndugwa are good additions which will help the team deal with fatigue and create competitive atmosphere.
These are all reasons why Onduparaka would have chance to thrive without Muhammad Shaban hence he deserved to be appreciated for the good work done and wished good luck in his would be new challenge with Super Sports United if he succeeded, unfortunately and fortunately he is back!