What you need to know:
- Focus. Where many young footballers squander their earnings in bling lifestyle, Barigye made sure he retired into a meaningful livelihood.
It is now 15 years since former KCCA and Uganda Cranes left winger Augustine Barigye quit football for business.
This after playing for Nsambya, KCCA, URA and Water in a football career that stretched from 1991 to 2007.
Barigye now is a real estate and property manager on top of a good number of fuel stations he owns in Wakiso District.
“I did not lavishly spend the little money I got from playing football like many of my colleagues, and I was able to make good use of the contacts I got during my career. That is why I have made it in life unlike most of my peers,” says Barigye.
Pay your debts
When he retired, Barigye entirely closed that door and concentrated on his job as debt collector at National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).
This job had been offered to him by the company management after a season long career at the corporation’s football team, Water.
Barigye gave it his attention entirely until quitting for self-employment six years ago.
This is a totally different path from some of his peers who turned to coaching after football but he wants to come back into the game as an administrator.
“I’m looking at becoming Fufa president. I can start by serving in other administrative areas like being a member of the Fufa executive,” says the businessman.
Barigye’s football life starts from Nyakinengo Primary School in the early 1980s. After Primary Seven, he earned himself a football scholarship at Makobore High School. He was spotted by former minister and KCCA manager Jaberi Bidandi Ssali.
“When I was introduced to KCCA training, I did not have any football training kit,” Barigye reminisces.
“In fact, senior players led by Abby Nasur mocked me but when training started I challenged them with my bare feet.”
He had been bred and groomed in Rukungiri district in the Ankole sub-region, then not renowned for football.
Barigye was raw when he started pushing a place in one of the great KCCA side in 1989. Jack Ibaale, the club chairman at the time, helped him get an admission to Kibuli SSS.
Making the grade
By being part of the football powerhouse, Barigye got the chance to hone his talent and reach the standards expected at the Lugogo-based club.
While at Kibuli SSS, Nsambya spotted him, fast-tracking Barigye into their first team, something that was never possible at KCCA because of the quality of the team they had.
In that season, Barigye scored a superb goal against his parent club KCCA in a league game. That was enough to remind Lugogo the hierarchy of what they were missing and what they would reap when he returned to them.
“All KCCA officials had forgotten that I belonged to the club but after scoring that very nice goal, Jack Ibaale filed a complaint at Fufa and the next season I was brought back to Lugogo where I belonged,” Barigye notes.
This second coming yielded much more than the first when he was much younger. A first Uganda Cranes’ call came in 1993.
However, he was dropped soon after his first summon.
A second call came as Barigye was added to the Uganda Cranes team that travelled to Mumias, Kenya, for the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup at the last minute.
“When we reached, Mumias I was included on the starting XI and senior players like Kefa Kisala and Charles Katumba who played the same position sat on the bench,” he explains.
Barigye largely credits his growth to coach Mike Mutebi. The former KCCA coach encouraged him to play as left back and left winger at the same time to force his way into the team.
He was part of the KCCA team that won the league title in 1997 under coach Tom Lwanga. Mutebi started the season before quitting after putting KCCA in an imposing position.
Barigye reconnected with his former Nsambya teammate, friend and captain Sam Kabugo, who helped him travel to Oman for a semi-professional stint in the early 2000s.
That lasted only six months before he returned to Kampala to join URA, then playing in the Nakawa first division.
Along with Jackson Mayanja, Matia Lule and other veterans, they got URA promoted to the top tier for the first time.
URA merged with Lyantonde in 2001. URA had been excluded from the Western League.
Lyantonde, cup finalists in 2000, did not raise enough money to continue playing in the Buganda Super mini-league.
The parties agreed URA would pay the registration fee and take over Lyantonde’s place in the league.
After promotion, the team took the URA name and began to play in the Buganda mini-league.
The club’s first season in the top flight was 2002. They have been one of the most successful teams in the league since their promotion, having never finished in the bottom half of the table.
A focused Barigye wanted to use his time at URA to secure a corporate job in the office but believes he was failed by fellow players. He moved on to Water.
After one season there, Barigye retired, getting the corporate job he craved.
Now a fairly successful businessman, Barigye wants to establish a football academy in Rukungiri. He never completed his A level studies at Kibuli, dropping out to concentrate on football.
Barigye says he has no regrets for the choice he made.
“Football showed me the right people who have made me what I’m today,” he says with a tinge of pride.
Sent off for a foul he did not commit
Left back Richard Kirumira would go on to commit a reckless challenge in close proximity to Barigye. Coach Polly Ouma asked Barigye to register his shirt number for the red card in order to keep Kirumira on the pitch.
“The referee was not able to recognise the player’s number due to heavy dirt on our attire that had been occasioned by a downpour during the game,” Barigye says, cheekily.
He took one for the team to ensure that Kirumira could play on.