Once touted by many enthusiasts as one of the biggest prospects of Ugandan football, Albert Mugisa may have broken many hearts for his decision to call it quits on the beautiful game.
He was first spotted by SC Villa legend Stephen Bogere during his spell as SC Villa coach in 2014. The tactician acted so fast and ensured that the youngster is tied down on a formal contract with the Jogoos. Unfortunately Bogere’s time at Villa was cut short and consequently putting a huge shadow to Mugisa’s too.
With Bogere’s exit, Mugisa a then student at St Mary’s College Kisubi opted to put the Villa dream to a halt too, concentrate on the books but continue with the football dream at the Edgar’s Youth program.
Ndejje University came calling and he joined them for a degree in Civil Engineering, from where his football dream continued.
THE MOVE TO POLICE FC
“So simple it was”, Mugisa exclaimed. Hakim Magumba, a close friend of mine, referred me to coach Abdallah Mubiru and luckily, he had already seen me play before. The rest is history”.
At Police he showed glimpses of class, winning over many hearts including that of Moses Basena the then interim Cranes head coach who handed him an invite to train with the national team preparing to take on Congo Brazzaville in the final qualifying match of Russia 2018.
” It stands out as my proudest moment, though I did not make the final traveling squad to Brazzaville, I felt so appreciated and enjoyed every moment I spent in camp mingling with players I had only adored before”
“I have always lived and breathed football to the extent that at one time thought about suing my father to the courts of law for insisting that I should stick to the books and give up on football”
Fortunately, a consensus was reached between him and the father and they agreed on how to proportion time for books and the “Co-curricular activities ”
THINGS TURN TOUGHER
“I did not anticipate a smooth sail at football in the topflight though things started well for me. Police FC won 7 out of the opening 10 fixtures of the season and we developed a feel-good factor. Teams began to earmark us as potential threats but continued to beat them. Unfortunately, we lost our leading striker Hood Kawesa and we began to falter. I had to also go for exams as I needed more concentration in class as per the agreement with my father.”
“By the time I returned, there were also internal problems and that’s how we lost truck”
Of Course, things could not be rosy for a player who did not test any serious competitive football before the big premier league switch save for the one season spent at Ndejje University. He did not feature in any of the Copa coca editions and neither did he take part in the rigors of the Masaza cup.
THE MOVE TO VILLA
Basena had become a huge admirer of the diminutive creative magician, from handing him his maiden national team call up to signing him for the 16 time Uganda premier league champions.
He had planned to build a team around Mugisa and made his intentions clear to the player.
The manner in which he left Police did not go down well with the top hierarchy because he had a year left on his contract. The federation however cleared him to be licensed by SC Villa despite missing a few opening matches.
The huge demands and high expectation for results at Villa couldn’t permit Basena to stamp his philosophy onto the team and incidentally faced the sack in the midst of the season.
Basena’s exit spelt doom for Mugisa as his successors had less trust in him. A starting berth could not easily be commanded. The last stroke being whipped in by Edwardo Kaziba’s preference for more aggressive midfielders like Amir Kakomo, Emmanuel Wasswa and David Owori.
NOT A BED OF ROSES
Every budding youngster looks up to established stars in the game, it was no exception to Mugisa who idolized Denis Onyango, Ibrahim Ssekagya, Hakim Magumba and co.
It’s imperative to note that success in the game like any other trade comes after heavy shifts of hard work, focus and sacrifice. For Mugisa, the University degree became an obstacle to his footballing dream.
Every time wages took long to come, he felt as though a wrong career move was made. He will definitely not admit to this but the manner in which he left Police for Villa and the consequential Villa exit proves so.
“It was NOT about the money as my football journey was purely driven by passion”.
“I only promised myself to serve the game for a limited time only, and that time had elapsed. I decided to take a new path which I am very proud of. I am serving my country”.
“It’s quite unfortunate that I left in a regrettable manner but when I look back, I feel I made the right choice”.
“Perhaps if an overseas opportunity had come early I would have thought otherwise”
“I had a chance to join Tottenham Hotspur in London after being invited for trials with them. I caught the eye of their scouts while playing in a junior tournament in Oslo Norway but my father opted out in favor of education. That still hurts me to this day”
THE HATRED FOOTBALL ADMINISTRATORS
“Dishonesty is the order of the day, players are taken for granted and these people behave as if they are doing a favor to the players”.
“They hardly honor their contractual obligations and this dishonesty hinders the development of the game”.
ANYTHING MISSED IN THE GAME?
“Absolutely so many things we used to do in the game always come back in my mind”. He said
“Coach Abdallah Mubiru was like a father figure in the game, he is a true teacher and the one I would catch a grenade for.”
“I miss the SC Villa fans, they make you feel loved and you definitely put your body on the line for them.”
“I decided to continue following, supporting Villa and I am a sworn Jogoo for life”
Mugisa is currently a UPDF officer serving in the engineering department at the Nakasongola base.