Kizza on Henry, Ochaya  ahead of Burkina cracker

Positive attitude. Kizza has spoken fondly of his left-back teammate Ochaya (inset right) and former coach Henry. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO, John Batanudde

What you need to know:

  • Should he be handed a runout by Cranes interim head coach Abdallah Mubiru at St Mary's Stadium Kitende tomorrow, the 20-year-old will be making his senior competitive debut for the Cranes

Even as he speaks to you, you can see the quick lift, and the excited spark in his eyes cannot be missed in the mid-morning scorch at Lugogo. 

The articulation is much better, and the confidence is clear as Mustafa Kizza narrates his fast-paced football life.

Having started out in KCCA's development side in 2015, and enjoyed a stint at Maroons before returning to Lugogo to set the perfect stage for the Major Soccer League (MLS) leap, it's been a whirlwind for the boy.

The Club de Foot Montreal - Montreal Impact until January this year - player is excited to be back home to represent his country as Uganda prepare to face off against Burkina Faso in the penultimate 2021 Afcon qualifying game tomorrow.

A young boy's dream

Should he be handed a runout by Cranes interim head coach Abdallah Mubiru at St Mary's Stadium Kitende, the 20-year-old will be making his senior competitive debut for the Cranes.

"I'm ready for the challenge," he assured the Daily Monitor, "It's what I've been working for as a young boy.

"You know everyone is dreaming to play for his country. So I'm just waiting for my opportunity. If given chance, I'll do my best."

Kizza had just finished putting in the paces with his colleagues at Lugogo before the team moved training to Kitende to get more acquainted with the artificial turf.

"So far so good," added the youngster, yet another bright prospect at left back, a spot that has been blessed with endless supply of talent over the years.

"Everyone in camp is happy and we are well prepared for the game."

For that left back position, Kizza finds himself up against his idol and former KCCA teammate, the TP Mazembe defender Joseph Ochaya.

"I grew up seeing him. He is my role model," intimated Kizza, "So, I learn a lot from him and for me it's brotherly competition, healthy competition."

The one more refreshing bit about the two is they are both good going forward and Mubiru can even afford to play them together along that flank.

In Henry's presence

Back at his Canadian Club de Foot Montreal, the young man's life couldn't have got a better upgrade in a year ravaged by the Coronavirus.

The man who signed him up mid-last year before Kizza eventually moved in October is revered world over - a one Thierry Henry - the Premier League side Arsenal and France legend.

Just how was it like coming into his presence, for the boy who never dreamed a moment like this would come, and in this manner, as his player? 

"Thierry," chuckled Kizza, a shy gaze forcing him to briefly look away before refocusing, "My first time meeting him I was a bit nervous but excited.

"But he welcomed me very well. He is a top coach. He helped me a lot because he knew what I can do. So he was pushing me in everything."

But that experience did not last long enough as Henry would soon resign his job citing personal reasons. 

Montreal were forced to relocate to the United States last season due to the coronavirus pandemic and Henry was unwilling to leave his family behind again in Canada.

"It (his departure) affected me a little bit but not much because all the coaches there are the same.

"They know what I can do. I miss him, playing under him but life goes on."

Good enough, Kizza also has someone closer to home. 

"I got someone else who has helped me a lot - Victor Wanyama (the Kenyan international and former Tottenham Hotspur player). He is helping me a lot to settle in."

Aucho apologizes 

Elsewhere, suspended Khalid Aucho late Sunday apologized for his role in his dismissal from camp after, according to Fufa, he turned down official means from picking him at the airport on arrival.

"I regret my actions and am ready to put this chapter behind me as it’s a dream to represent my country," he wrote in a statement.

"To Fufa, fellow players, fans, family and friends; I can only say I’m sorry.

"I also accept the fact that many of you will not believe my aplogy or anything that I say at this point but this is my only official statement and it’s from the bottom of my heart. 

"I wish the Uganda cranes success in the two encounters and I hope for the best. See you soon."

Burkinabe in the land 

Meanwhile, the Cranes, who trail Group B leaders Burkina Faso by a point on seven, will qualify for Afcon 2021 with a game to spare if they beat the Burkinabe and Malawi fail to pick maximum points off South Sudan.

On their part, the Burkinabe arrived in the country on Sunday and are residing at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Their star players in forwards Lassina and Bertrand Traoré, who both played for their respective clubs Ajax Amsterdam and Aston Villa on Sunday, were expected to join them yesterday.

Kizza fact file
Name: Mustafa Kizza
Position: Defender (left back)
Height: 6’1’’
Date of birth: September 3, 1999
Place of birth: Kibuli, Uganda
Citizenship: Uganda

Current club: Club de Foot Montreal, MLS

Previous clubs
2015: Joins KCCA Soccer Academy, playing for the development side until 2016

2016-2017: Joins Maroons

2017: Returns to KCCA

Individual stats

2019-20 UPL: 19 games, 5 goals, 12 assists

2019-20 Caf CL: 3 games, 2 goals

Cecafa Club Championship: Six games, two goals, three assists

National team (Chan and Cecafa): 10 games, 4 goals, 7 assists

Afcon 2021 qualification

Tomorrow, March 24
Uganda vs Burkina Faso

Monday, March 29
Malawi  vs Uganda

Cranes Squad 


Dennis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Jamal Salim (Al Hilal, Sudan), Charles Lukwago(KCCA FC-Uganda), Kigonya Mathias ( Azam FC- Tanzania)


Mugabi Bevis (Motherwell FC- Scotland), Kizza Mustapha (DC Montreal- USA), Ronald Mukiibi (Ostersunds FK, Sweden), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam, Tanzania), Timothy Denis Awany (Sport Club Ironi, Ashdod, Israel), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, Democratic Republic of Congo), Lwaliwa Halid (Vipers SC-Uganda), Elvis Bwomono (Southend United, England), Juuko Murushid (Express FC-Uganda), Kizito Mugweri Gavin (SC Villa- Uganda)


Miya Faruku (Konyaspor- Turkey), Kizito Luwagga (Hapoel Kfar Saba- Israel), Waiswa Moses (Supersport United-South Africa), Lwanga Taddeo (Simba SC- Tanzania), Michael Azira (New Mexico United-, USA), Allan Kyambadde (El Gouna, Egypt), Allan Okello (Paradou,Algeria), Lumala Abdu (Pyramids FC- Egypt), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Vipers SC-Uganda), Orit Ibrahim (Vipers SC-Uganda).


Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Ittihad Alexandria, Egypt), Fahad Bayo (Sport Club Ironi Ashdod, Israel), Kaddu Patrick (Youssoufia Berrechid-Tunisia), Sentamu Yunus (Vipers SC-Uganda), Isiagi Daniel (Jomo Cosmos-South Africa).