Tales of Africa’s football’s biggest stars don’t pass without the bits that come with their hugely humble beginnings, which also almost always turn into testimonies and life lessons.
Soltilo Bright Stars’ Ibrahim Kasinde is not that sort of star yet, yet his shine has witnessed a continuous rise of one glory to another, at only 19 years.
Born to Abubakar Kavuma and Hadijjah Nabaganzi in a small town, Kyazanga in Lwengo district, Kasinde’s path into football was designed from the womb.
“I didn’t just join football, I was a footballer even as a toddler. The passion was within from as far as I remember,” the pacy winger revealed to Football256.
His parents did not stand in his way as he saved them any burdens in school dues, as his talent attracted takers.
“I started at Victory Primary School on a football bursary, played with Kyazanga Youth Football Academy, joined St. Bernard’s College, Welden School Mbarara, and Royal Giants, Mityana all on the bursary, so my parents didn’t have to suffer the fees problem.”
Determined to make it huge, he has not looked back since, has been on steady strides, and continues to walk a tale destined for success.
“I played for Ssingo Ssaza, Busujju Ssaza, and Masaka City FC before joining Soltilo Bright Stars,” noted the trickster.
“Bright Stars believed in me from day one, gave me a huge platform to showcase my abilities and from there I was seen, and got called on the U-20 national team. Who knows, maybe no one would have seen me,” a fully grateful Kasinde noted.
He has since featured for the Hippos at the CECAFA AFCON U-20 Zonal Qualifiers, where he played two games, providing one assist before he was ruled out for the rest of the games, to extremely questionable COVID-19 results by the hosts Sudan before the semi-finals.
“Seeing my first national team call-up made me so emotional, yet I was extremely happy that my hard work had been seen and appreciated. It has always been my dream to represent my country,” he recalls.
Uganda went on to win and defend their trophy, and in the process qualify for the 2023 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations slated for Egypt.
“There were several valuable lessons on my first national team engagement. I met experienced coaches, and new teammates, and also, flying out to compete with other national teams gave me joy, lessons, and even more confidence.”
A truly exciting and exhilarating experience it was, yet the man christened ‘King 7’ feels it’s only the start of many big things. His sights are locked on taking his motherland to the prestigious World Cup.
“My ambitions are now set towards leading my country to the World Cup (U-20) and this is possible,” he says with eyes filled with confidence and optimism.
It’s worth mentioning that all four semifinalists in the Egypt AFCON will make it to the World Cup set for 2023 in Indonesia.
“That’s what I’m focused on with the national team. With my club, I want to help Bright Stars finish in the best possible positions. But also, our ultimate dream is the championship so it’s a dream I’m working on as well,” added Kasinde.
Despite being just a teenager, albeit with big dreams, the fleet-footed attacker feels the nation is endowed with talent, yet it takes a budding star to do only the right things to make it huge.
“Uganda has the talent but my fellow upcoming stars have to handle themselves in the right manner. Trust in God, have self-belief, discipline, be willing to learn, coachable, and always work hard.”
“The players that I take as my role models, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nelson Ssenkatuka embody all those things. Ssenkatuka for example is exemplary and a leader. I learn from him every day.”
At 19, with his talent, attitude, and discipline, it’s a huge likelihood Kasinde, along with several other youngsters will be the stars the nation needs in case ambitions are to be realized, especially the 2026 World Cup dream.