Like they never left: Trio continues party in Egypt

Sunday August 4 2019

Reaping The Fruits. (L-R); Uganda Cranes

Reaping The Fruits. (L-R); Uganda Cranes forward Lumala, striker Okwi and midfielder Aucho have all secured deals in Egypt. PHOTOS BY John Batanudde 


It has nothing to do with Akon and Whitney’s ‘Like I Never Left’ hit, but the Ugandan trio of Khalid Aucho, Abdu Lumala, and most recently Emmanuel Okwi, can now sing along to some lines without fear of reprimand.
A quick mental trip to July 5 and back and you see the vibe.
Then, the above and their Cranes teammates will have signalled to generous hosts Egypt, telling them ‘It Was Over’ as they ‘Packed My Things And Moved Away.’
Their then coach Sebastien Desabre would not have joined in, of course; for he was definitely staying behind to take over his new job as boss at Pyramids FC.
Desabre and his boys had done enough to win hearts of the Egyptians despite Uganda’s elimination.
And now, the Ugandans continue to party in Egypt with striker Emmanuel Okwi’s move to Egyptian side Ittihad at the tail-end of the week the third for the East Africans after Khalid Aucho and Abdu Lumala joined Misr Mikassa and Desabre’s Pyramids respectively. They all back. Like they never left!
“Club president Mohamed Mosselhi finalised the deal with Emmanuel Okwi today and the Ugandan striker signed a two-year contract until 2021,” confirmed Ittihad on their website on Thursday. The fee involved in the deal for the former Simba player was not disclosed.
The Cranes striker, who impressed at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt - scoring twice against DRC and Zimbabwe – is said to also have been on the radar of clubs in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa (Kaizer Chiefs).
Okwi’s busy career has seen him have several stints at his parent club at SC Villa, Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel, SønderjyskE Fodbold in Denmark and of course Yanga and Simba in Tanzania, where he enjoys cult status.
The striker, Aucho and Lumala – the latter two were as impressive at Afcon – join Smouha forward Derrick Nsibambi as the Ugandans now plying their trade in Egypt.
Ittihad, who finished 11th in the 18-team table last season, are hoping Okwi adds spark to their thin attacking options ahead of the new season that only includes Khaled Kamar and Ghanaian Emmanuel Banahene. The Egyptian league starts mid-September.