July 5, 2022

Airtel FUFA Awards: The one reason Kambale may not win the male player accolade

By Brian Aheebwa
Express FC forward Eric Kambale | Express FC media (Amina Babirye)

In two days, one of Erick Kambale, Bobosi Byaruhanga and Aziz Kayondo will be crowned the 2021 Male Player of the Year at the Airtel FUFA Awards.

Both Byaruhanga and Kayondo have represented Uganda at multiple levels that is, the U20, 23 and the Uganda Cranes this year which has not been the case with Kambale.

Of course, Kambale would have also earned a call up for both the U23 side at the CECAFA Championship and the Cranes at the World Cup qualifiers.

But he is still caught up in a citizenship dilemma as he still has an attachment to Democratic Republic of Congo.

Does the basis above beat his individual performance at Express FC the previous year though? If not, he is the ultimate favourite to drive away with the car, come Saturday.

The 21 year old scored 15 goals in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League only one behind Vipers SC’s Yunus Ssentamu who was the eventual top scorer with 16 goals.

His 15 goals were almost half of the goals the entire Express team managed (44) during their SUPL winning season implying he was one of the pillars in club’s triumph which marked an end to the nine-year trophy drought at Wankulukuku.

He went ahead and guided the Red Eagles to their maiden CECAFA Kagame Club Championship, a tournament where he scored three goals, a tally only equalled by his then teammate Muzamir Mutyaba.

Having completed clinching a double, the seven times SUPL champions embarked on their continental journey and it was again Kambale who netted their first goal in a 2-1 win over Al-Merrikh at Kitende.

The second was scored by Martin Kizza before they were edged 1-0 in Sudan for the hosts to go through on away goals rule.

To juxtapose further, although Byaruhanga played and reached the final of the U20 Africa Cup of Nations in Mauritania where Uganda lost 2-0 to Ghana.

There were far more influential players for the Hippos in the likes of Steven Sserwadda and Derrick Kakooza who finished as the top scorer with five goals.

Byaruhanga was promoted to the senior national team, playing in all the games at the World Cup qualifiers but the country knows the only thing that happened positively in that campaign was Fahad Fayo’s three goals.

Byaruhanga was more sound statistically in the Stanbic Uganda Cup where he made quite a number of assists, most especially in the final as Vipers demolished BUL FC 8-1. He was named the best midfielder of the tournament.

Meanwhile, his teammate Kayondo, together with Kakooza were named in the AFCON U20 Best XI which was a huge milestone.

Kayondo was also part of Vipers’ Uganda Cup winning team and was also handed his national team debut in a 1-0 win over Rwanda at Kitende in October.

Their participation in the CECAFA Challenge Cup does not cut the edge given that the Kobs did not make it past the group stages in Ethiopia.

Unless there is to be a shock, Kambale will with ease, beat off competition from Byaruhanga and Kayondo at the Airtel FUFA Awards ceremony to be held at Speke Resort Hotel, Munyonyo.

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