What you need to know:
- His second comeback in 2015 witnessed perhaps his best and most industrious season where he almost single-handedly dragged the team from the Fufa Big League to the Uganda Premier League and final of the Uganda Cup en route to claiming the best footballer of the year award in 2016.
The name Shaban Muhammad resonates well with Onduparaka and the West Nile fan base. His first stint at the club saw him pull the team at its infancy from the lowest echelons of the football pyramid in the district leagues to the regional level.
His second comeback in 2015 witnessed perhaps his best and most industrious season where he almost single-handedly dragged the team from the Fufa Big League to the Uganda Premier League and final of the Uganda Cup en route to claiming the best footballer of the year award in 2016.
Unlike the previous two, the prodigal son returned home this season only to find the caterpillars struggling to walk and hold on to their foliage, a situation that had left them stuck deep in the red zone for the better part of the campaign.
And just when everyone else had written them off, their golden boy turned up with his magic wand that dragged the team near to safety if not yet there, scoring a whopping seven goals in just four games to deliver four of their last five consecutive victories with three back-to-back man-of-the-match awards.
Chasing Golden boot
“I always feel at home here [at Onduparaka] because I am loved by everyone and my teammates support me a lot,” Shaban explains to Score where he draws the inspiration for his stunning form that has seen him move to just a goal behind the league’s leading scorer Ceasar Manzoki of champions-in-waiting Vipers.
They travel to Jinja today to face Bul that is fresh from booking a slot in the semi-finals of the Stanbic Uganda Cup.
Despite their opponent’s red-hot form, Shaban definitely expects a pat on the back by his teammates maintaining the pace no matter the opponent as they seek to finish on a high as well as boost his chances for the golden boot.
“Helping the team to survive and finish in a good position is my main objective and that’s the mentality we’re taking to Bul and any other opponent. That said, I also have to push harder for a chance on the [golden] boot, Inshallah,” he added.
Manzoki leads the scorer’s chart with sixteen as Shaban follows closely with 15.
Onduparaka will continue to miss their head coach George Lutalo who is still recovering after undergoing an operation for appendicitis last month.
They’ll also be without their technical director Dudu Bosco who was standing in for Lutalo but sent off for continued protests against the referees during their 2-0 win over Express a week ago.
With the two absent from the touchline, assistant coach Ibrahim Kongo believes their star striker can provide leadership on the pitch.