For a decade Godfrey Walusimbi aka Jjaja Walu was considered the best left-back in the Uganda Cranes’ red and black colours.
Walusimbi, one of the most zealous and gifted left wingers in Ugandan football, announced his retirement from the game on Friday, bringing an end to a colourful 10-year association with the national team.
In his early 30s, Walusimbi was graceful in his unexpected departure, penning a brief but precise signed notice to Fufa – a sharp contrast to the old fashioned acrimonious exits by most of his peers.
“It’s been 10 years down the road having a great honour and so privileged to represent my country Uganda in international football tournaments,” said Walusimbi in the letter.
“I believe I have done my best concerning representation with full abilities, so to that I decided to let the younger ones showcase their abilities too, and we hope they too will embody the spirit of the nation,” he added.
The former SC Villa, Bunamwaya, Gor Mahia and Kaizer Chiefs marauding left-back arrived on the big stage to competition from equally skilled Nestrooy Kizito and leaves behind a succession battle that will involve long standing surrogates Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe) and Isaac Muleme (Viktoria Zizkov, Czech Republic).
Locally, Mustapha Kizza (KCCA) and Disan Galiwango (Express) must also be itching to seize the opportunity.
From the growing tributes, one can straightforwardly appraise the impact Walusimbi, now playing in Albania, has had on the national team.
“Whilst you will no longer be on the field with us, your example will act as a benchmark for the next generation good luck focus on your new challenge,” Uganda Cranes coach John McKinstry remarked.
The federation was not spared in eulogizing the exceptional left-back whose 105 caps where highlighted by marking out Liverpool and Egypt Star Mohamed Salah at Namboole in 2017.
“You ruled the left-back (position) for a decade. Fufa is proud of your services and commitment to this great nation,” their website stated. A no-nonsense defender and an entertainer in all Cranes camps, Walusimbi’s decision to quit must have been formed during the six months he spent without a club, and now wants to give all that is left to his KF Vllaznia employers.
What others say
“You have been a great leader on and off the pitch, thank you for the great memories.” Denis Onyango, Cranes skipper
“Regular, faithful with his country and with a warrior spirit, a big loss to the national team,” Sebastien Desabre , Former Cranes coach
Walusimbi fact file
Full name; Godfrey Walusimbi
DOB; July 3, 1989
Place of birth; Kampala, Uganda
Height; 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position; Left back
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2006–2010 SC Villa 92 (22)
2010–2013 Bunamwaya SC 34 (5)
2013 CS Don Bosco
2013 SC Villa
2014–2018 Gor Mahia 59 (6)
2018–2019 Kaizer Chiefs 10 (0)
2019- todate KF Vllaznia
National team 2009– Uganda 105  (3)