Mutiibwa happy to do dirty work for Kampala Queens

Kampala Queens Midfield Shakirah Mutiibwa is happy with responsibilities. PHOTO/ JOHN BATANUDDE

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However, with the way she rolled back the years to shutdown She Corporate for majority of their 2022/23 FWSL first round clash at Mubs on Sunday, it will not be long until she returns to the Crested Cranes set up to provide cover or competition for Joan Nabirye.

As recent as April, Shakira Mutibwa was playing in the second tier 2022 Fufa Women Elite League (FWEL) captaining Asubo-Gafford in the fight for promotion to the Fufa Women Super League (FWSL).

Kampala Queens sensing that a thin squad might not live up to expectations in last season’s title run-in exercised a new Fufa regulation to prize her away from Gafford.

The decision made by the 26th Fufa Executive Committee convened on March 26 approved that a player may be released to join a club of his or her choice on sporting just cause if they had not played 25 percent of matches that single season.

They were signing no novice. Mutibwa, 22, was a regular in the national team as far back as 2018 – starting for Crested Cranes in the Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers against Kenya and in the Cosafa Women Championship in South Africa.

The coach back then, Faridah Bulega, had worked with her at Gafford and trusted her ball winning abilities and the quickness with which she released it to those who were better at creating.

After Bulega moved to Kampala Queens following a bitter exit from Gafford, Mutibwa fell out of favour and has not returned to the set up since – save for a 2020 call up to the U-20 national team that fell to Tanzania in their World Cup qualifiers then.

Disruptor-in-chief

However, with the way she rolled back the years to shutdown She Corporate for majority of their 2022/23 FWSL first round clash at Mubs on Sunday, it will not be long until she returns to the Crested Cranes set up to provide cover or competition for Joan Nabirye.

“I am surrounded by very creative players and my role was just to disrupt the opponent and help my teammates do their work without thinking of falling back.

I am sure that if I do the right things consistently, I will definitely return to the national team,” Mutibwa, who made her impact easy to see in a team of huge attacking talents, said in the post-match interview.

Initially, she got help in the first half from Teddy Najjuma but the latter was withdrawn at the stroke of halftime for another attacking player in Lillian Mutuuzo.

That was partly because She Corporate stood suspect in defence forcing their midfield pivot Cissy Nantongo to fall very deep. That meant that instead of Naume Nagadya pushing forward to join Nabbumba in attack, she was pushed back to pivot.

As She Corporate reorganized in the second half with their forwards Favour Nambatya and Joanita Ainembabazi playing higher and closer to each other centrally, Kampala Queens was forced into some defensive work.

Fortunately, Mutibwa was in the mood to cover every blade of grass in her own half. She tackled hard and whenever possible kicked everything in blue. Not that she matches him by any measure, but for a clear picture of her role in the team, her display rolled back memories of Claude Makelele in the engine room of the Real Madrid Galacticos.


AT A GLANCE

Name: Shakira Mutibwa

Age: 22

Position: Defensive midfield

Clubs: Asubo-Gafford, Kampala Queens

National team: Cosafa Women 2018, Awcon 2018 qualifiers

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