Without mincing his words, Muhammad Shaban says the chance to play on the continent next year was enough to lure him to KCCA instead of staying at childhood club Onduparaka.
Shaban’s highly publicised yet controversial move to Lugogo finally went through on deadline day last week although the 19-year-old also reportedly drew interest from Vipers.
No financial details were given by KCCA at Shaban’s unveiling ceremony at Lugogo last Thursday, but inside sources say the three-year deal will cost the Lugogo club not less than Shs60m.
“I came to KCCA because they will be playing in the Caf matches and the environment here will help me develop as a player,” Shaban, who has been restricted from speaking to the media since his unveiling told SCORE in an exclusive interview this week.
“Vipers were giving me over Shs70m but I chose KCCA because it is the club I support and I know it will help me get back to the national team.”
Although the striking sensation who netted 13 league goals for Onduparaka last season pays tribute to the club’s fervent fans, he has no kind words for management.
“By now I would be in Europe but those officials failed many of my moves. You don’t play football for life so you need to make money to make your future better when you still can.
“I wish I had the power to talk to the fans back in Arua that loved me so much to explain why I left. Although they didn’t want me to leave, I know one day they will understand that it was the right time to move on.”
He doesn’t rule the possibility of celebrating a goal against Onduparaka if he plays against them ‘because it is not easy to score a goal so every goal moment must be jubilated’.
Yet when he looks back, Shaban rues that moment when he signed a five-year contract with Onduparaka that he didn’t understand.
“I was a minor when I left Kitende and Vipers (in 2016) to join Onduparaka. They gave me Shs3m and signed for five years which I later realised was unfair.”
Success trail at Onduparaka
Tired of being ‘undermined’ at Vipers, Shaban asked the coaches to allow him move back home to play for Onduparaka which they reluctantly granted since they considered him ‘a work in progress’.
Shaban would rally forces with his village-mates to catapult Onduparaka to their maiden Uganda Premier League (UPL) season a year later with 13 goals in the Fufa Big League (FBL) and seven in the Uganda Cup as his club lost out to Vipers in the final.
“Once I was back in Arua, I would score goals for fun because of the support and having played there before (at Doves FC). I wanted to show Vipers that my talent was above playing with kids who won’t develop my game.”
Born to score
The best player tag is a shadow that always moves with Shaban and he always earns that by scoring goals in abundance and importance. Starting out at Mbuya, Makindye, Nakivubo Blue and Awingiri primary schools, Shaban’s scoring instincts always stood out earning him a slot at Arua Public Secondary School from where he joined Kitende after Ordinary Level.
“Kitende first approached me at the 2014 Copa Coca-Cola tourney in Gulu after noticing my scoring ability. I refused to join them even after they gave me money and travelled with their coach Richard Wasswa to Nigeria for the Airtel Rising Stars tournament. “It was coach Ronald Ssali who I had interacted with at Kampala Junior Team (KJT) that finally convinced me to join them and help them win the Copa tourney in Hoima where I scored a double as we beat Masaka SS 4-0 in the final.”
Taming the moody temper
Never one to be bogged down easily, Shaban was among the Kitende players banned for physically assaulting referee François Ngarambe during the boys’ semi-final football match against Tanzania’s Alliance SS at 2015 East African Secondary Schools Championships in Rwanda. “When we saw Mbabali (Nasir) attack the referee, we followed him because we were also annoyed. I now know that beating the referee was wrong but he was also wrong in his decision.”
“After talking to coach Matia Lule and a couple of friends in the Uganda Cranes team like Godfrey Walusimbi, I have now grown and do things after thinking about my future.” He has heeded to coach Mike Mutebi’s warning on his mood swing and promises to establish a heathy relationship with everybody at Lugogo to realise his dreams.
On beating goalie Onyango
For his 13 FBL goals, seven Uganda Cup goals and seven UPL goals by the time of the awards (December 2, 2016), Fufa, basing on ‘national wide’ sms voting system bestowed upon the youngster the Fufa Best Player of Year Award at the expense of Uganda Cranes and Mamelodi Sundowns shot-stopper Denis Onyango, who had enjoyed a commendable season on the continent. The national uproar was unmanageable and Shaban himself was left bewildered as he drove away his prize car.
“It was not an easy thing to beat Onyango. I was surprised but I know it came through hard work.”
On father’s influence
Shaban’s father, Shaban Waku’s fondness with his son doesn’t end with the resemblances but in everything he does. He was pivotal in his dramatic switch to Lugogo and the retired soldier continues to have a huge bearing on Shaban.
“I wouldn’t be what I am without him. He would even let me play soccer during school time, bought me soccer boots and took me to KJT Academy to learn football.
“I work hard to get money to look after him, my mum Musa Kadala and my three siblings.”
“I have bought land in Arua and I look after my family. You cannot play football for life and that is why I have put on hold my studies (stopped in Senior Five) to concentrate on soccer now.”
The other man that believed in Shaban’s qualities was former Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic (now at Orlando Pirates), who included him in the 23-man squad for Afcon and continued to guide him even after the botched trials at SuperSport.
“They wanted to send me to a second tier club (Stellenbosch) but Micho advised me to return if I was to stay in the national team.
“He told me to work hard because I’m still young and advised me to do personal training to improve.”
Shaban says that he doesn’t feel the pressure because KCCA players create many chances he can ride on to score more goals than last season.
NAME: Muhammad Shaban Jaggarson
BORN: January 1, 1998 (age 19)
CURRENT CLUB: KCCA
PLACE OF BIRTH: Arua
ROLL OF HONOURS:
Fufa Player of the Year 2016, Copa Coca-Coca Best Player, Airtel Rising Star MVP, FBL top scorer, Uganda Cup joint top scorer
JERSY NUMBER: 21