December 9, 2021

Airtel FUFA Awards: Where are all the past winners?

By Baron Kironde
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Fazila Ikwaput (L) and Muzamir Mutyaba pose with their 2017 accolades at the Airtel FUFA Awards / FUFA Image

The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) officially launched the hugely anticipated 2021 Airtel FUFA Awards at Stonehaven Hotel, Kololo on Thursday following a short-lived sabbatical forced by the pandemic.

Like it has been in the past, the theme for this year’s edition will be ‘Celebrating Uganda’s Finest Football Personalities’, which is in line with the Awards’ motive to recognize, appreciate and award exceptional football talents.

This will be the sixth time in seven years that the event will be happening following the inaugural year 2015 where Farouk Miya and Sandra Nabweteme won the awards for the Most Valuable Male and Female footballers respectively.

Allan Okello and Juliet Nalukenge won the most recent edition in 2019 and remain the current holders as the 2020 edition did not happened.

Meanwhile, the Awards have been positively perceived thanks to their efforts to promote healthy competition. As a result, players have reason enough to put everything on the line for the glory of their respective teams.

The Awards encourage the referees and coaches, who are key elements and stakeholders of the game, to step up their performances with the benefit of hindsight that they will be regarded for a good display.

Speaking of winners, where are they all? What happened to them? Are they still in the country, if so, why have their performances plummeted to such a level that they can’t even be shortlisted?

To answer the above questions, here is the full list of the former winners and how they are fairing currently. From the most previous to the inaugural winners.

2021: Yet to be announced

2020: Not held

Allan Okello and Juliet Nalukenge – 2019

Allan Okello: The creative midfielder was crowned the best player of the season in the country while with KCCA FC, beating stiff competition from his then teammate Mustapha Kizza and Bright Anukani who was still with Proline FC.

Okello would go ahead to win all available accolades that particular season, including the Football256 FOTY Award. He has since moved on to play professional football with Paradou AC in the Algerian Ligue Professionnelle 1.

Juliet Nalukenge: A proven striker with a very sharp eye for goal. Nalukenge beat Hasifa Nassuna and Fauzia Najjemba to the 2019 female MVP gong at the same glamorous awards night held at the Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala.

She has since gone on to seal a place on the national team with both the U20 and the senior side but was most relevant with the U17 team which she captained until recently when she turned 18.

Rising through the ranks at Kawempe Muslim WFC and impressive, it was clear that her talent would take her places.

It was a surprise to no one that the vastly talented young lady made the cut recently and secured a deal with Cyprus club Apollon Ladies WFC where she has already scored two competitive goals.

Still very promising, Nalukenge finished ninth in the Goal NXGN Award for the best young female footballer in the world during the Awards held in March 2021. Talk about taking it global.

Moses Waiswa and Ruth Aturo – 2018

Moses Waiswa: The then Vipers SC midfielder beat promising youngster Allan Okello and Viane Ssekajugo to the MVP accolade.

It was in the same year that the attacking midfielder also successfully broke into the national team setup as one of the forward thinking midfielders in the country. Waiswa currently plays for SuperSport United in South Africa.

Ruth Aturo: The UCU Lady Cardinals goalkeeper beat the then Crested Cranes skipper Tracy Jones Akiror and defender Shadia Nankya to the female MVP award thanks to her convincing displays.

Aturo has since risen in the ranks to take up the Crested Cranes armband given her leadership skills as she continues to ply her trade with the Cardinals where she is also captain.

Muzamiru Mutyaba and Fazila Ikwaput – 2017

Muzamiru Mutyaba: Then with KCCA FC, the midfielder was recognized and awarded as MVP that particular season, beating teammate Geoffrey Sserunkuma and the then Vipers SC midfielder Taddeo Lwanga to the award.

Mutyaba lasted a bit longer at Lugogo after his milestone until the year 2020 when he switched allegiances to Express FC, a side that would make him champion of the league again along with regional glory in the CECAFA Kagame Cup.

Fazila Ikwaput: The Crested Cranes striker beat Hasifa Nassuna and Vanessa Karungi to claim the female MVP award that season, she literally decided to score for fun that year.

Ikwaput moved from Olila HS to have professional stints in India and Kazakhstan before returning home to play for the Lady Doves WFC.

She is the first Ugandan female footballer to score a goal in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the goal coming against Barcelona’s WFC as BIIK-Kazygurt stunned the Spanish giants to win the encounter 3-1 at home in 2018.

Muhamad Shaban and Hasifa Nassuna – 2016

Muhamad Shaban: The striker was voted male MVP ahead of the then Cranes Captain and fans’ favourite, Dennis Onyango and Joseph Ochaya.

Shaban had had a relatively remarkable debut season with West Nile side Onduparaka FC where he has since returned to captain them in their topflight adventure this particular season. While some still contest his win, others maintain that he was a deserved winner given his performances.

Since then, Shaban moved to KCCA, then to Morocco’s Raja Casablanca where he experienced an unsuccessful stint that saw him return home with Vipers SC where a repeat of his Morocco bad luck was to happen.

It was this lack of playing time and his unforeseen omission from the club at the end of the season that prompted him to return to the AbaBet Greenlight Stadium and captain his boyhood club in a bid to rediscover his mojo.

Hasifah Nassuna: Arguably the most skilled player of her generation, Nassuna was easily chosen as the best female footballer that year ahead of prolific Sandra Nabweteme, Christine Nambirigge and goalie Ruth Aturo.

Nassuna is a mainstay in the national women’s team and also switched from Kawempe Muslim WFC to UCU Cardinals that she helped win the inaugural national women’s championship in which she was also the MVP.

Farouk Miya and Sandra Nabweteme – 2015

Faruku Miya: At the time, only his opponents must have not liked him for he gave them very hard times. But the hardworking midfielder was everyone’s favourite and it was no surprise that he scooped the inaugural award with ease.

Miya was recently linked with a move to MKE Ankaragucu in the Turkish Second division but the deal did not quite materialize leaving him in a state of quagmire.

Since leaving Vipers SC, the forward has featured for Standard Liege and Royal Excel Mouscoron both in Belgium, been to Azerbaijan with FK Sebail before switching to HNK Gorica in Croatia and to Turkish side Konyaspor finally.

Sandra Nabweteme: With a character of skill, pace and agility, the attacker was named the FUFA Female Player of the Year following her successful journey with Kawempe Muslim.

She currently plays as a forward for FH HAFNARFJÖRÐUR on loan from Þór/KA, both teams from Iceland and for the Uganda national team.

She played college football for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University from 2016 to 2019 where she won multiple accolades.

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