Kiiza backs Okwi to deliver goods at Etoile
Posted Thursday, January 17 2013 at 10:20
Soccer. Striker Kiiza however warns Okwi that harder work starts now or the move will count for nothing.
Yanga striker Hamis Kiiza believes his international partner Emmanuel Okwi’s transfer to Tunisia is a step forward in his career but warned him it’s just the beginning of another challenging road.
Okwi, in his early 20s, completed his move to Etoile du Sahel after reportedly passing a medical on Monday. Club officials put the transfer fee at $300,000 (about Shs780m) and Okwi will apparently earn $15,000 (Shs39m) per month.
The striker has been on the radar of several clubs having won with Simba the Vodacom Premier League (2011-12), where he scored 12 goals.
He also led Simba to the Kagame Cup quarterfinals and Uganda to their 13th Cecafa Tusker Cup in Kampala last month.
But Kiiza, who scored two goals more than Okwi in the league last season and is his understudy on the national team, the Cranes, says that will count for nothing if his mate does not prove his worth at the new club.
“No doubt it’s a big move for him,” Kiiza told Daily Monitor via phone from his base in Tanzania.
“He has proved here and on the national team what a player he is and I believe he has what it takes to succeed there (Etoile du Sahel).”
Du Sahel have won the Tunisian league nine times, been African Champions once, African Cup Winners’ Cup kings twice and Caf Confederations Cup winners on one occasion. “But I have to add that he has got the move but that is not enough. Now he has to prove to his new club that he is the player they signed.
“He has to adapt and he has to work harder because when someone buys you for that money they have faith in you and expect returns.” Okwi joined the Tanzanian giants in 2010 from Ugandan side SC Villa.
His several previous attempts away from Simba, including one to Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg, all fell through. Kiiza himself is preparing for the Tanzanian league’s second round which is scheduled to kick off on January 26.
He already has four goals to his name, two more than last year this time. Elsewhere Mike Mutyaba, who has been on loan from El Merriekh to Vipers, has recovered from an injury he sustained last season.
And although the financial details of his deal to TP Mazembe remain a secret, reports indicate that the 22-year-old was bought for $50,000 (Shs130m) and signed a five-year contract.
CAPTION: Zambia’s Stophilla Sunzu (L) tries to block Okwi’s shot during a 2013 Afcon qualifier match at Namboole Stadium. PHOTO BY E. CHICCO