When Police midfielder Juma Balinya says “I am the best in the league” he is not saying it with the arrogance that you would expect him to.
he is referring to other people who play a great deal in nurturing his career have told him so and he has not only believed them but he has gone ahead and walked the talk.
“My coach (Abdallah Mubiru) told me I was the best player in Uganda and asked me to believe it too,” Balinya said while appearing on the NBS for a sports talk show The Score.
“He encouraged me to improve my game and get some goals for the team, I never saw myself as a goal scorer but more of someone who could assist goals.”
“The coach asked me to score just seven goals this season and after four games I had four goals, he kept on increasing the target and the more I scored the more I believed in myself,” added the former Vipers and Lweza midfielder.
It’s not Mubiru who believes in Balinya’s abilities, his teammates too have pushed him a great deal, especially the team captain Sadat Kyambadde.
“My captain told me I can even be the MVP before even the season started, that motivated me to keep on working hard, change my lifestyle, my diet and everything,” he added.
Balinya was a strong candidate to make the cut as Cranes coach Sebastien Desabre named the local based players to join 14 others as for a camp in Egypt.
Instead it was Timothy Awany, Allan Okello, Allan Kyambadde, Patrick Kaddu, Sadam Ibrahim Jumna (All KCCA FC), Moses Waisswa, Taddeo Lwanga, Halid Lwaliwa (all Vipers SC) Hassan Wasswa, Godfrey Walusimbi (both club-less) who made the cut.
And like any other player “I was disappointed but that’s not the end of the road.” This is in preparation for the March 24th Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier against Tanzania in Dar Es Salaam.
“I just need to keep on working hard, I am still here, the national team is still here and when my time comes, I will be on the team,” he added.
Asked about his relationship with Desabre, Balinya believes there will more moments for him to work with the Frenchman.
“He is a very good coach, I know he likes me and he told me to keep on working hard my time will come,” he added.
Balinya currently tops the scorers’ charts of the StarTimes Uganda Premier League with 16 goals, his last goals coming in Police’s 4-2 win over Paidha Black Angels where he netted a hat-trick.