SINAN RAJUB SENOGA
Full-name : Shaban Wasswa
Date of birth : 19th February 2000
Birth place : Wabigalo, Mityana district
Club : Paidha Black Angels
Position : Central defender
Shirt Number : #29
Nick name : Songo
Previous Clubs : Synergy FC and Greater Masaka
When you are chanced to watch Paidha Black Angels play, your eyes would simply lead you to a one Shaban Wasswa, a central defender with a firmly tucked-in jersey number 29. Like his firmly fixed jersey throughout the entire 90 minutes, the teenage defender stands out noticeably in the defensive department despite the league debutants having a turbulent season.
Determined, down to earth and a hard worker, that’s everything that can easily define the 19-year old center back who is also a Senior Six vacist .
Wasswa is a player on a gradual rise as one of the best defenders of his generation having rolled off from Masaka S.S to Synergy FC and the now defunct Greater Masaka United.
Just like in the tales of many footballers across the world, Wasswa’s background is no different from the others – a humble one under the parenthood of a single mother commonly addressed as Nalongo Nakasagga.
Him and his twin brother Edrisa Kato are the last born of a family of six who only had to hustle with the life after the father unfortunately passed away two months after the birth of Wasswa and his brother.
Unlike Wasswa who turned out to be a footballer, Kato decidedly opted for a different specialty – Music.
Wasswa went to Mirembe Primary School and later Mackaay Primary school for his early education with both institutions located in Nateete Rubaga on the southwestern edge of Kampala City.
While at Mackaay, Wasswa attained essential education alongside notables like Frank Zaga Tumwesigye (now at Express), Mustafa Kizza, Alex Komakech, Musa Gitta among others, a crop of players who later made a mark in the Uganda Premier league and on the under age national teams as years came by.
” We were very many kids at that moment who were brought together by common interest in football. Very many of us had no home to stay in while attending school in Kampala so we used to live in an orphanage around Rubaga division which was funded by Mr. Dan Ntale a famous football player.”
Wasswa proudly narrates.
“However, It was very unfortunate as years went by, some of the boys weren’t going to school anymore which led to the closure of the orphanage. “
After completing his PLE exams at Kitebi Primary school, Wasswa embarked on a new beginning at St. Charles Lwanga Kasasa in Masaka before joining Masaka S.S.
An East African schools’ championship title in Rwanda in 2015 capped Wasswa’s splendid tenure at Masaka S.S.
“ It’s was a memorable moment for us and me as a player, we beat Kitende (St. Mary’s) in the final to win the East African championship. We also won the Kabaka Cup and the UMEA Cup as well in the same year. “
Says a grinning Wasswa who later captained Masaka SS in his final year at school (2018).
The budding defender started his club football adventures with Synergy FC which was by under the tutelage of coach Brian Senyondo.
Wasswa sought for greener pastures at Greater Masaka United which had come to existence after the sale off of Lweza FC but only existed as long as anyone could remember.
PAIDHA BLACK ANGELS MOVE
At the start of the ongoing season, the youthful defender joined Uganda Premier League newbies Paidha Black Angels on a one-year contract in an understandable pursuit for greener pastures.
Life in a new environment has always been a hard one for the novices Wasswa admits,
” I joined Paidha because my former coach at Greater Masaka Haruna Mawa was the coach then but the turn of events saw him resign even before the league could kick off. That alone was a huge signal that we were destined for a tough season.”
” The good thing is that I easily acclimatized with the new life and got the ground going that fast. “
The first round of the StarTimes sponsored league saw Wasswa garner seven match appearances before he was granted leave to complete his UACE exams.
On resumption, the second round of the season has seen the youngster start from where he stopped, playing every minute in Paidha’s hardened battle for safety.
On any day, the robust defender can put his body on the line in the name of a block. He is endowed with an excellent aerial prowess and a good game leading save for occasional lapses in concentration.
On 5th February this year, Wasswa was named man of the match in Paidha’s 1-1 stalemate with BUL FC in Arua on the account of his consistent brilliance.
Being applauded and adored by rival fans has always been a preserve for special and glamorous players like Lionel Messi and Ronaldo but the young defender has already been served with his share in the Uganda premier league after his exploits impressed all but sundry in Paidha’s 2-1 loss to SC Villa.
” I felt extremely elated at that moment because being appreciated by the opposition fans is something very rare. It turned out to be a motivation to me as a player and a cornerstone for better performances in the next games.
“If Villa fans can acknowledge me as a player then everyone else can. That is what struck my thinking since then.”
Defending KCCA’s bully striker Patrick Henry Kaddu is always a mountain to climb, likewise Wasswa confesses the Uganda Cranes number nine is the toughest opponent he has faced thus far.
” Playing against Kaddu was one hell of a challenge. It was very hard to defend him because he is very aggressive and very hard. Hard like metal. ” Wasswa says.
Wasswa dreams of playing professional football from beyond the Ugandan borders but also fancies to don the famous Uganda Cranes jersey.
” I want to play in the national team colours one day. I very much know what it’s takes to do so, working hard, impressing on the pitch and believing in yourself.”
” I also want to play football beyond Uganda. You see, I want to make my mother proud because she has always been my inspiration. I owe her a lot. “
Besides the family support and inspiration from his mother, Wasswa spares a special mention for the coaches who have handled him since his hey days.
KCCA’s Richard Malinga who coached Wasswa at Masaka SS together with Simon Peter Mugerwa, Brian Senyondo among others are some of the men he attributes.
” They are very many people who have in one way or another nurtured me from since I was a kid up-to now.”
” Coach Malinga, Coach Mugerwa, Senyondo, Haruna Mawa, coach William, coach Ntege, coach Ndaula and the late Ivan of Makaay Primary and many others. They did a tremendous job in moulding me into a player I am today.”
And whether his football career ambitions materialise, Wasswa is one of the most promising players in the country today. It might seem a big call at the time but not so long for this talented novice defender.