Uganda Cranes forward Allan Okello is determined to wrestle fate and shape own destiny at Algerian side Paradou – and not be like his compatriots Murushid Juuko, Khalid Aucho and Joel Madondo who have all returned home from failed professional football in North Africa.
Madondo and Aucho are said to be back in Jinja City in eastern Uganda after completing their quarantine on return from Wydad Casablanca in Morocco and Misr el Makkasa in Egypt, respectively, while Juuko has enlisted with Express after leaving Wydad.
The three players have had tough times in North Africa that was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, while Madondo yelped and whined about eating chapatti and tea for dinner as Aucho quietly sneaked back into Bugembe town, 20-year-old Okello says the tough times are a phase he must endure to make it in professional football.
“This year has been a terrible year for us and to me the past seven months have been hard,” Okello told KCCA TV on Sunday.
“This has been the worst seven months in my life but I know it will be alright. I miss my family, friends. I’m a lone this side and bored and lonely. But I have to go through it all. I know with time, we’re going to cope up with everything.”
The Algerian league is yet to resume and all that Okello is focusing on is upping his training to break through the first team.
Patience is a virtue
At the time the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the sporting world, the former KCCA playmaker was just finding his footing at Paradou and had played one match with a return of one goal.
“It is all about being patient, no need to panic because our lives and health matter. We have to follow government directives and I have to motivate myself to see that I come through this,” he revealed.
Okello joined Paradou on a three-year contract in January and the 2019 Fufa Footballer of the Year is grateful for the journey thus far.
“At KCCA, I dreamt of being where I’m today, and here I’m working to go higher... a better place than Paradou,” said the forward who has won two Uganda Premier League titles and two Uganda Cups in three seasons with KCCA.
Life in Algiers has taught Okello the virtue of patience and he uses this to maintain focus and work on his weaknesses as well as keep mentally and physically fit.
Allan Okello, professional footballer
Born.July 4, 2000
Place of birth.Lira, Uganda
Height.1.79m (5 ft 10 in)
Current team.Paradou, Algeria
Shirt Number. 8
Copa Coca-Cola - 2016
UPL - 2016-17, 2018-19
UG Cup - 2016-17, 2017-18
Football 256 Footballer of the Year 2019.
Airtel Rising Stars MVP - 2014, 2015, 2016
Young Player of the Year - 2016-17
Fufa Footballer of the year 2019