Saturday November 11 2017

Shaban’s career of controversy

Man on fire: Shaban has scored six goals for

Man on fire: Shaban has scored six goals for KCCA in just three Uganda Premier League matches. PHOTO BY AMINAH BABIRYE 

By ELVIS SENONO

KAMPALA.

Muhammad Shaban shot onto the domestic scene in 2013 as part of the National U-17 team that fell one step short of qualifying for the continental tournament.
The striker, is most remembered for his three goals in the two home and away victories over Rwanda before they were eliminated by Zambia 4-1 on aggregate.
Since then, the volatile forward has, however, been followed by a worrying trend of controversies most of them his own making This week the Fufa Appeals Committee ruled that the striker was free to move to a club of his choice, most likely KCCA who unveiled him in September, provided he can pay damages worth Shs22m to his hometown club Onduparaka.
The committee ruled that the player who signed a three year contract worth Shs500,000 a month with Onduparaka in August last year breached his contract before petitioning the Player Status Committee to release him.
The striker accused the club of failing to fulfill its contractual obligations in addition to abuse from fans towards him and his family.
He also cited a need to further his education which had become difficult while in Arua where Onduparaka is based.
While he was revered by the majority of the club’s fans, his relationship with the administration was hardly rosy.

Flirting with KCCA
In one of the public spats, Shaban was pictured with KCCA officials Erias Lukwago and former chairman Julius Kabugo at the team’s hotel in Arua.
This was hours before KCCA defeated Paidha 2-0 to lift last season’s Uganda Cup, something that did not go well with Onduparaka.
He was consequently asked to apologise for the incident when the pictures spread on social media. Instead, the then Onduparaka captain accused management of ‘slave trade’ before later withdrawing the statement.
The act was, however, enough for him to be stripped of the captaincy with the player mentioning the incident as one of the reasons for submitting his transfer request.
His fiery character also saw him booked a league high eight times in his maiden topflight league season in which he scored a scored 13 goals.
He was also involved in a scuffle with journalists, hurling a water bottle at photographers as they took pictures of him during Onduparaka’s 7-0 thrashing at the hands of KCCA.

Controversial return to Onduparaka
While Onduparaka can rightly cry foul over Shaban’s errant behavior, the Arua-based club acquired his services in almost similar circumstances close to two seasons back.
He moved to St. Mary’s Kitende following his national under-17 exploits, featuring for Vipers Junior team in the National U-17 league, a club with strong ties with the school.
“Finally I have signed for Vipers good or bad news because I still love my home team which has newly joined big league Onduparaka. So please if it’s bad news please forgive me because I had some problem which demanded some money,” he posted on Facebook at the time.
But with first team opportunities hard to come by, he forced through a move to his hometown club, playing against them in the 2016 Uganda Cup final that Vipers clinched 3-1.
“He has been a student at St Mary’s Kitende. We even licensed him for the current Fufa U-17 Juniors’ League. He disappeared from school thereafter and we have since heard he has been playing for Onduparaka,” Vipers Chief Executive Officer, Peter Lwanga said while at a Fufa press conference before the final.

St. Mary’s Kitende days
At Kitende he was one of four players expelled from the East Africa Secondary Schools tournament for assaulting Rwandan referee François Ngarambe after they lost 1-0 to Tanzania’s Alliance SS in the semifinals.

Fans favourite
Despite his shenanigans, Shaban retains several suitors as envisaged by his unveiling at KCCA in September. He was at the end of last year overwhelmingly voted by the West Nile region as he was controversially awarded the 2016 Airtel-Fufa Male Player of the Year beating pre-event favourite Denis Onyango.
A month later he also made the Cranes final squad as the country returned to the Nations Cup for the first time in 38 years.

More drama at KCCA unveiling
Vipers almost hijacked the player’s unveiling at Lugogo with the player staying glued in the Lugogo car park with his representatives demanding that a portion of the transfer fee be physically availed before they put to paper.
He later did sign on the dotted line but only after KCCA administrator Moses Kaddu adhered to the request by rushing to the venue with money in a black bag.
“He’s (Shaban) a KCCA fan. He’s been a king in Arua. Here, no. We have a responsibility to tame this young man. “I am being honest. He has been the king where he has come from. But here, no! Don’t worry about him. I will deal with him,” Mutebi vowed at the unveiling. Time will tell.

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