Saturday January 18 2014

Consistency is the game, Ssentamu

Striker Ssentamu with his man of the

Striker Ssentamu with his man of the match award after the victory over Burkina Faso  

By Moses Banturaki

He doesn’t carry the team the way Hassan Wasswa does, or even employ the blood and iron ways of Andy Mwesigwa. He is not a dribbler in the style of Brian Majwega. We don’t even know yet if he will be a great goal scorer in the mould of Isa Sekatawa.

He is not particularly fast in the hustle-them-to-death pattern of Geoffrey Massa. He is not even the most talented footballer this country has ever seen, but when the chips are down, who do you want on your team? A man who takes his chances.

For those of you recently arrived from Mars please meet Yunus Sentamu. He is the 19-year-old sensation who was discovered on the foothills of Ruwenzori Mountains and brought to Viper FC via St Juliana, Gayaza and Kitende. He announced his arrival on the big stage by bagging a brace for Uganda against the much fancied Burkinabe last weekend. And he couldn’t have chosen a better arena, in Cape Town before scouts and a watching prime-time television audience.

Yet for those who have his history and admittedly I am not one of them Yunus Sentamu’s emerging career looks headed for that discussion where opinions sit on opposite sides of a very passionate line. Some believe the goalkeeper turned striker is an opinionated footballer, a lad whose head has already been turned by the privileges associated with coming through Kitende the school or Viper the football team. While many others think he is the very personification of football genius.

For now I shall dwell on the latter because I find that when we talk about the ills that bedevil our young footballers we tend to be overly inconsiderate of the challenges that every impressionable adolescent must contend with.

So allow me to stick to Yunus Sentamu’s football and start off with what I saw.
In that Sunday night game there were a couple of lads that caught the eye like Isaac Muleme and of course we all know what Hassan Wasswa is capable of.

But by God if you consider that anticipation, speed of thought and calmness are a strikers biggest weapons then Sentamu has got game. Both his goals had elements of all the three and at 19 it must be admitted he is a natural seeing that the committing of these attributes to your muscle memory takes years of training and application.

But all of that is just a beginning. Now we need to see how he reacts to being double-teamed and marked by defenders who would rather have him ‘dead’. Many men have been here before and have wilted, beaten into a corner by unforgiving burdens of expectation. His journey is just beginning and very soon he will realise (if doesn’t already) that consistency is the name of the game.

His coaches must ensure this happens by continuing to seek improvement from his game. It could well be that watching scouts will snatch him up immediately and expose him to better standards than we have here. So be it. But for now and as fans let us celebrate the birth of a star and hope that he avoids the trappings of fame and goes on to have a useful career.