Stories have been told of how far clubs in the 80s and 90s would go in order to secure their prime targets in the transfer window.
If a club had a genuine interest in a player, its fans would take it upon themselves to protect and keep an eye on that player to ward off any other rival club from moving ahead of their club in the race.
Some would even camp outside at the FUFA house in Mengo to keep an eye on who visited the offices. It was forbidden for a player to be seen at the premises if there was talk of a pending exit.
Transfers and how the business is handled currently is divergent from what it was some 20 years ago, but the cunning, guileful and vulpine tendencies still remain.
KCCA and Vipers have been involved in some drama-filled transfer sagas recently. Muhamad Shaban’s move from Onduparaka saw the two giants tussle out for his signature before KCCA‘s offer proved hard to resist.
Defender Disan Galiwango was also subject to interest from both clubs, and was sighted at KCCA base in Lugogo before he was unveiled by Vipers on a four-year contract.
The latest player to be subject to a transfer conundrum between the two is midfield prospect Andrew Kawooya who has caused such a stir between KCCA and league champions Vipers SC.
The attacking midfielder is highly touted to be the next big thing in Ugandan football and has developed quite well through the ranks at Vipers’ Junior team.
Kawooya who turned 17 in March 2020 was under no contract with the Kitende based side, a situation their rivals KCCA predated upon to reach an agreement with the player’s parents over a potential transfer.
According to sources from the StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo, the club had agreed on terms to a three-year contract with Kawooya’s parents who even signed a consent form with the club.
Football256 has been reliably informed that the player and his representatives were due to meet with KCCA over final bits of the transfer, but has since not been seen anywhere nor has he returned the club’s messages and calls.
The source revealed to this writer that it is not deliberate from the player to hide from the club as he was anxious on joining them, with fingers pointed towards sabotage from rivals Vipers SC.
“Kawooya was set to meet with the club to complete final details over a possible transfer, but they have not heard from him and his phone has gone unanswered since Saturday,” a source told Football256.
“The club is worried since negotiations have been going on smoothly between the two parties, with Kawooya’s parents signing a consent form, and KCCA were confident that they could pull off the deal this week.”
“Kawooya’s disappearance has not gone down well with the club’s hierarchy who have started pointing fingers and are convinced there is sabotage from one of their rivals who they believe are hiding the player,” the source added.
Kawooya’s parents have also feigned ignorance of where the player has been holed up, but they remain illogically calm over the issue despite not knowing the whereabouts of Kawooya for over 48 hours.
“The player’s parents have been notified as well and they have told the club that they do not know where the boy is. KCCA thinks Vipers has something to do with it.”
“They (Vipers) do not want to lose such talent more so to a rival, and it could be that they are hiding the boy somewhere as they try to convince him to stay.”
Further investigation on where the player could be by this writer shows proof of a certain degree of deceit from the player’s parents who have given a different account to the club.
A phone conversation with Kawooya’s alleged mother (names withheld) revealed that the player is safe and they know where he is hidden, but was reluctant to give more details.
“Kawooya is safe and doing fine, I know where he is and I can guarantee you he is safe,” the lady told this writer before hanging up.
He may not be a household name right now, but Kawooya surely has the talent, skill, intelligence and football brain that very few of his peers possess.
He was the star performer for the Uganda U-17 side that played at the 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations held in Tanzania and scored in the Cubs’ 3-0 victory over Angola.
Kawooya was part of the select 12-man team that travelled to Cape Town, South Africa in 2018 to bring the World Cup trophy to Uganda during its African tour.
Kawooya was spotted by Royal Giants School coach Frank Mulindwa during a district schools’ championship in Masuliita. He has also previously played at Dynamic SS.
He played for Lweza Junior team in the 2016 season, before joining Proline in 2017 following the former’s relegation. Kawooya spent a single season at Proline before joining Vipers in 2019.
The midfielder has stayed on the fringes of the senior team and was promoted to the club’s reserve team at the start of the season.