KAMPALA. He can be steadfast insistent and stubborn when he believes in something. That could perhaps be one of the reasons KCCA manager Mike Mutebi did not do much to keep Paul Mucureezi.
The midfielder has been one of KCCA’s shining stars in the last three years, and to many, it was surprising that KCCA would let Mucureezi go without a fight.
But for those who follow events at Lugogo closely, Mucureezi was that player who voiced his colleagues concerns to the powers that be without fear of reprisal.
To some authorities at the club, he was divisive – to others, that principled small man. With a new address at Mbarara City this season, the player is hungrier than before ahead of the new football season.
“KCCA is a bigger club with titles, but this (Mbarara), for me, is a bigger challenge because we are talking a side that was fighting relegation last season,” Mucureezi told SCORE.
“We want to do better than last season. The target is to avoid that relegation fight this season and push for the top half of the table.”
When Mucureezi, who turned down the opportunity to join Villa after the two failed to agree personal terms, arrived at Mbarara, coach Livingston Mbabazi assured him of his trust. “He told me that I’m an outstanding player and that he expects a lot from me.” Does that not increase pressure on him? “No,” said Mucureezi, “I have been in a lot of pressure games since I started playing football, but as of now, it doesn’t get to me.
Man on a mission
“I’m here on my own mission. My target is to get back to the national team and try be a regular, and of course play professionally abroad.
“I have to help Mbarara and my teammates so that they also help me achieve my ambitions.” Mbarara finished last season in 11th place, three clear of the drop and as many points from relegated UPDF.
Mucureezi and Muhammad Rashid from Onduparaka are some of players Mbabazi has brought in to champion the cause, with the experienced players like skipper Asuman Alishe coming in handy.
Ibrahim Oriti, Pistis Barenge Mukundane Hillary and Bassey Methodious are some of the other players Mbarara will count on to avoid the relegation dogfight.
Mbarara City FC
Home ground: Kakyeka Stadium
Nickname: Ankole Lions
Club chairperson: Hon Mwine Mpaka Rwamirama
CEO: Saddam Mugalu
Team Manager: Byamukama Julius
Head coach: Livingstone Mbabazi
Assistant coach: Abubaker Kasule
Goalkeeping coach: Ssenyonjo Yusuf
Team doctor: Katongole Shafic
Club captain: Alishe Asuman
List of club sponsors: Top Bet.
Eyam Ivan (Kataka FC), Paul Mucureezi (KCCA FC), Umar Muhinzi (school recruit), Darko Emmanuel (Accra City (Ghana), Kabuye Steven (Luwero United), Noah Yannick (AS Kigali), Rashid Muhammad (Onduparaka),
Karim Ndugwa (Wakiso Giants), Jude Ssemugabi (Kiboga Young), Ssemakula Hamim (Kira Utd)
Eddie Mubiru, Abdul Kasule, Ibe Obinaall, Junior Ainamani (all Wakiso Giants) Waibi Yeseli-URA, Owen Kasule- (Released), Clinton Kamugisha (loan to Wakiso Giants), Simon Ssentumbwe (Released), Saliim Hood (Edgar’s Youth), Suwed Bwambale (Released), Kalanzi Fred (Kabale Sharp)
Full squad for 2018/19
Kimera Ali, Ssekeba Muhammad, Byekwaso Zaid, Ahebwa Jasper, Semakula, Hamim, Mukundane Hillary, Alishe Asuman, Pistis Barenge, Samarie Farouk, Eyam Ivan, Kabuye Steven, Bassey Marko Methodius, Orit Ibrahim, Musindo Siraj, Sseguja Swalik, Karim Ndugwa, Maqueth Wol, Emmanuel Darko Paul, Akanakimanah Noah, Paul Mucureezi, Othieno Steven, Muhamad Rashid, Jude Ssemugabi, Umaru Mbusa Muhinzi, Brian Ahebwa, Sam Kansiime