The gloves are already off long before rivals Vipers and KCCA kickoff the belated league season. It is a fierce one that involves youngster Andrew Kawooya, believed by many to be the future fulcrum of Uganda Cranes midfield.
The flames for the battle for the deft midfielder were stoked the moment KCCA manager Mike Mutebi unveiled the lad, chest-thumping about the coup he had pulled off grabbing him from the jaws of rivals Vipers.
Fufa has moved fast to clear the air on the brewing contest between the two local heavyweight clubs.
According to Aisha Nalule, the federation competitions director, Vipers never produced their contract in time to stop the move.
“We don’t sell players to clubs. The laws allow young players to move on after the season ends and by the time Vipers brought their contract on Monday, KCCA had tabled theirs a week earlier,” explained Nalule.
For the last eight years, the Uganda Premier League trophy has changed hands only between Vipers and KCCA, and the latest altercation can only add to their bourgeoning rivalry.
The 17-year-old compounded matters by declaring he was extremely delighted to be the ‘best team in the Cecafa region’. “I like their style of play. They really play attacking football and that is something that fits me, so it’s the biggest reason why I choose to develop my talent from Lugogo.”
Kawooya skippered the U-17 team during Africa Cup of Nations in Tanzania last year and has featured for Lweza, Proline and Vipers SC Junior teams in the Fufa Juniors League.
Brace for a spirited fight
According to Harunah Kyobe, a Vipers Director, they are not taking the humiliation lying down.
“It was a tug of war getting Kawooya from Dynamic SS to join St Mary’s Kitende in 2018 so we carefully let him sign a special binding contract that will help up in this scenario because his parents also consented to it,” said Kyobe.
He added; “I blame Fufa in all this because they never contacted us when they saw that we have rejected the transfer application in our system. Yes we know that the boy’s dad is controversial but we are not giving up yet.”
KCCA assistant CEO Michael Kirunga is confident the stylish player is theirs for keeps.
“He who alleges must prove. If Vipers have proof, then let them produce it,” he told The-SportsNation website.
Club manager Mike Mutebi recently revealed why players like Kawooya are to die for.
“We are interested in players who are in their early twenties because we want to groom players that can stay at the club for some time,” said Kawooya.
“The idea is to give the players long term contracts to keep the team stable if we are to compete at the top level.”
KAWOOYA AT A GLANCE
Date of Birth: Mar 3, 2003
Position: Attacking Midfield
Strong Foot: Right
Current Club: KCCA
Former Club: Vipers