Love or hate him, Muhammad Shaban is that rough diamond few coaches can hardly ignore.
He was tailor-made for the big occasions and likes to pounce when nobody is giving him a chance.
After the hullabaloo that surrounded his move from Onduparaka and the prolonged wait to make his debut, Shaban took only 14 minutes to show KCCA diehards at Lugogo on Wednesday the gold they had landed.
Like a seasoned predator, Shaban met Sadam Juma’s well-weighted pass from the right wing that he expertly put beyond the approaching Police custodian Davies Mutebi.
“It was the perfect moment I needed after being out of football for a long time,” Shaban told SCORE.
“After scoring over 10 goals in KCCA practice matches, I set a target to score on my debut.
“Before the Police game, I was confident it was going to be a good match looking at the experienced players we had. I now need to play regularly with Nsibambi (Derrick) so that we can make a pair that can score more goals together,” he added.
Goals galore promise
KCCA boss Mike Mutebi likes his players to play ‘our way’ and Shaban’s speed, robustness and the will to take on defenders can only aid him to achieve that.
“I have been waiting for this day to play for KCCA and it gives me excitement that I have started with a goal. More goals will come Insha Allah.”
The fans emphatically cheered on their new signing and when he scored, he ignored the many cameras craving to capture his celebration and instead sped off to the spectators’ wing to celebrate with the fans.
“I wanted to celebrate with the fans because they have patiently waited for me as I went through the transfer saga,” he reveals.
He even unleashed the trademark ‘Arua’ celebration dance in jubilation.
Next up for Shaban is a trip to Kavumba to face Soana this afternoon before Vipers, another side that scrambled for his signature visits Lugogo on Tuesday.
Ready to move on
The ‘detractors’ too have an invisible hand in Shaban’s energised display.
“Most people have been talking ill about me that I will be a flop at KCCA. I have to silence them with goals and I want to score in each game Insha Allah,” said the lad that netted in double figures in the league for Onduparaka last season.
It required a prolonged deliberation by the Fufa Appeals Committee to sanction the Shaban’s switch from Onduparaka to Lugogo as both clubs haggled over transfer fees. That scenario left the player limited to only training sessions and practice matches. He says the congratulatory messages he received after Tuesday’s memorable debut flew in even from his former teammates at Onduparaka.
Not yet assured of starting berth
Manager Mike Mutebi anticipates a tough battle amongst his five strikers and a welcome selection headache now that Shaban has hit the ground running.
“All our strikers (Nsibambi, Patrick Kaddu, Tito Okello, Ssekamatte Kayongo and Shaban) have already scored goals in the league.
“It is going to be a fierce competition for the strikers because to me no body is first amongst equals,” Mutebi stressed.
Cranes return on cards
The reigning Fufa Best Player has plans of returning to the senior Cranes side soon if he continues to prove his worth at KCCA. But for now, he will settle for a spot in the Under-20 Cosafa team set to represent in Zambia, albeit Uganda will be taking part as guests. “I am playing with Cranes players at KCCA which gives me belief that if we perform well together, I can play for the national team again.”
KCCA have reportedly sunk Shs72m into Shaban’s transfer so far but all signs point to the club getting value for money if he helps them hastily forget the departure of net buster Geoffrey Sserunkuuma, who banged in 32 goals last season.