Sunday May 18 2014

My shattered football dream

Oscar Evans Lubwama.

Oscar Evans Lubwama.  

By Edgar R. Batte

When he was born in 1990, his parents, a young couple, were already thinking about the future of their children. When Oscar Evans Lubwama was two years old, his parents flew him and his sister to Sweden. Lubwama later learnt that his parents were not that well-off.
“They did not have money but they said that they needed to make it better for their children. My Dad organised air tickets for us to move to Sweden to live a better life,” Lubwama explains.
Little did they know that they had given young Lubwama a chance not only to grow up in the west but have a chance to exploit his talents.

Playing ball
“I got the strength of the drive from my parents who rose from nothing to something. I played basketball when I was four years old. There was a young man who used to watch me from a distance and he approached me and said I would do well in football,” he recounts.
From that time on, he started focusing his energies on playing football. His peers spurred him on and before long more people outside his age bracket were commending his pitch abilities.

“When I was 14 years old, I signed the first professional contract in Sweden. We played against teams like Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester United and Ajax. Getting that experience, we became one of the best teams, winning the champions league with BP Sweden,” he adds about his first big achievement as a footballer. He was playing with Sweden’s IF Brommapojkarna U19 at the time.

He adds that his team was associated with Manchester United. “This is the biggest club in Europe with over 500 teams. There is no other club with such many teams. At 14, we won the champions league. Later on, we played the world cup in the finals in Hong Kong. My team was the first Swedish team to win the champions league, calling for football scouts to reach.”

Many injuries
At 17, he moved to England and started training with Bolton Wanderers. It was there that English football manager and a former professional footballer Paul Ince saw him.

“He offered me to play in the Bolton first team I had made. I signed with them and also got national clearance but broke my jaw in my first game. I was aiming to do a tackle as my teammate was aiming to score a goal. He kicked my face instead of kicking the ball. It was traumatic,” he recollects.

He adds, “Doctors said I was not able to play football again because I was losing my sight. At some point the doctor said I was okay and I tried to play again, then my knee got injured. I could not manage many injuries.”
People told Lubwama that he was unlucky not to play anymore but he realised there was more to life than football. He started educating himself by reading and getting to know what spurred successful people.

Fresh lease on life
In one book he read a question, ‘What would you do if you were guaranteed success?’
“I started thinking and I wanted to be in a nice office and I wanted to be someone important, someone who can help other people. I did not know anything about investment but I was willing to learn. I wrote 50 application letters in one day and within a week, companies started contacting me,” he recalls.
He got placement in an investment company in London where he proved himself in three months.

“I was among the top investment brokers of the company and that is when life started because I started to meet interesting people. That is when I realised I could learn things quickly; I shouldn’t have taken long to do this. I wanted to go back to Sweden to start my own company. I love music; it’s one of my passions. People discouraged me in Sweden thinking I could not make it as an actor or artiste there,” he recalls.
They told him that the best place to act or do music was either America or England.

Back to Sweden
He wanted to build the strongest music agency in Sweden for the first time. He went ahead and started small.
“I opened an office, Perfect Play Agency, a music production agency and as we talk today, we have offices with two Ugandans; Sabina Ddumba and Esther Ndawula. Ddumba is an amazing person; she’s done a song with Katy Perry. It was number 32 on Billboard 100, the world music chat,” he says with a smile of satisfaction.

Lubwama says, Ddumba is the first Ugandan who has signed with the Warner Music International Sounds. He also signed Ndawula.
The 24-year-old music promoter says, “Two weeks ago, I organised a music contract for her with Sony music, making her the first Ugandan to sign for Sony Music international. But before I started the company, I had in my mind setting up the strongest music agency to prove to people that if you want to become an international artiste, you need to begin from home.”

His dream
Lubwama’s dream is to give back to his country and the best way he believes is to see how people here are living and to listen to the music, learn the culture and understand how the people in Uganda are, how the music is and how the society is.

“I want to build a music agency or company where I will find the best young artiste that I believe can be international. I want to provide everything that they need like producers, writers and work together,” he adds.

Future plans
He plans to pass on some of his skills. “I want to hold a seminar to teach people how they can make their lives better. I want them to think differently and know why some people are successful and others are not,” he adds.