Ibrahim Sekagya is that one former Ugandan international you look at today and salute his remarkable career.
A decade plus of leadership with the Cranes, endurance in the lower divisions of Argentina, through captaining Red Bull Salzburg to league and Cup titles in Austria to playing alongside Thierry Henry at sister club New York Red Bulls, the man has stood out.
His true value, knowledge and leadership were reaffirmed when the New York club retained him as part of the technical team after one and a half seasons of service mid this decade. He is listed as assistant coach at the club website.
Now, the stylish defender lives comfortably in New Jersey, with his two sons having the luxury of starting their football career in the best of professional conditions.
His older teenage son, Imran, has been often pictured doing drills with his dad, and Sekagya is a big fan.
“Hahaha...” Sekagya responded to our question of how he rates his boy, “I rate him 8 out of 10. He has all the qualities of a good player.
“He is dedicated, disciplined, ambitious, curious and ready to learn something new every day. And most of all, he is a good listener. If he could be a little tougher, then the remaining 2 would make him a 10.” Sekagya says his boy sees himself in Spain legend Andres Iniesta.
The current Coronavirus-enforced global shutdown has helped Sekagya spend more time with his boys, yet it has also put more on the Ugandan’s plate when it comes to work. Enjoy our chat with him.
How is this whole new stay home experience treating you and family?
It is quite challenging; actually, busier than you can imagine. The conferences with the players every day, the technical staff conferences, the weekly general conferences with the entire company workmates of different departments, the rotating weekly coffee/tea face time calls from any random coworker, and my sons daily drills/training assignments - all this really makes me more than occupied than usual. Of course, I have some positives noted. It has made me get to know the good and weaknesses of my sons soccer skills; especially my oldest son. It has also made me get closer to him (big son) even more than before, we now to talk like real buddies/ men. And also, through the coffee/tea cup team calls, it has made me get to know and associate with all my workmates from the different departments. This has made us become real family, especially in these trying times.
How is your typical day like; from when you wake up to when you go to bed?
Like I told you, I have quite a busy day. I have to get online for teamwork calls with at least three players in a week; with alternating groups say strikers, defenders, wingers etc. Then I have coffee/tea cup call from a random coworker from the Red Bull Company in general, not specifically the sports department. And this goes on rotating randomly every week. Once in a week I have our general online conference meeting as the technical staff body to discuss a number of issues and of course to check if everyone is safe. We then have video analysis work of some previous games or random games of different leagues with our video crew to see how best we could tackle different scenarios. When I am done with all my work, I take my boys out in the neighborhood to do our routine practice and to tackle all his assigned drills of the day. By the time I’m done, it’s already late.
Tell me more about your older boy. What position does he play?
My son plays midfield, but can also be used as a left back.
Where does he see himself in future?
He sees himself playing like Andres Iniesta one day. He loves his style of play.
And how does dad rate him?
Hahaha... I rate him 8 out of 10. He has all the qualities of a good player. He is dedicated, disciplined, ambitious, curious and ready to learn something new every day. And most of all, he is a good listener. If he could be a little tougher, then the remaining 2 would make him a 10. He spends more time checking on every player’s wellness and he worries so much when he hurts someone on pitch. So this somehow disorganizes him on pitch. But that is him, in real life. I know he will toughen with time, at some point I was like him.
The US has registered the most Coronavirus cases so far. How are you taking it all in as a family?
My office and facility is in New Jersey, it’s our stadium that is close to New York (one of the most affected). I live in New Jersey too, but of course New York and New Jersey are more or less the same, just separated by the Hudson River. In fact, most people work in New York, but live in New Jersey. So, basically the situation wouldn’t differ that much and this is why we are hit so hard almost the same way as New York. In the beginning, we were checking the news quite often, but when we saw the curve getting higher every day, we stopped watching the news, because it was getting stressful. So we resorted to keeping ourselves busy, checking on our dear ones and most of all taking all the necessary precautions and necessary guidelines to keep safe.
Finally, what general word to have for your fans and people back home in Uganda?
All I can say to the people and fans back home is we love to see them safe and of course I request them to please follow all the necessary precautions and guidelines being set by the authorities. Covid19 is a real monster. I know it’s tough but it’s the only way lives could be saved for a better tomorrow.