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Martin Kizza: a kid grabbing an opportunity with widely opened hands

By Football256 Team
Martin Kizza (M) takes on then Vipers Nicholas Wadada (L) and Taddeo Lwanga at the Masaka Recreation Grounds / Courtesy Photo

It is every footballer’s dream to make it professionally. In earnest, you can understand the joy when a Ugandan footballer makes it to the paying ranks because there’s no given formulae in breaking through. But there are certain parameters that have got to be constantly upheld.

Hard work, discipline, obedience, cooperation amidst others then hope to be lucky. Luck is a function of intent and where there’s no intent, your chances of being lucky certainly plummet at an astronomical rate.

Martin Kizza is a Ugandan international who does turn out for Royal Eagles in the South African second tier. This may sound like a situation many of our footballers would love to find themselves in but even for the lanky winger, the going has never been rosy.

“Whenever you leave your country for a foreign country, of course, you come across many challenges; such as the food, weather, people, language. All these give you a hard time,” Kizza told Football256.

He further adds: “But anyone leaving their country for another country should be resolute to enable you to cope up.”

Kizza started out with KCCA in the 2014/15 season under the tutelage of coaches, George ‘Best’ Nsimbe and Abdullah Mubiru before jumping ship to SC Villa the subsequent season in a bid to get more minutes under his belt.

In the three seasons he spent at Villa Park, his last season was his most fruitful he managed to command playing time with a return of 10 league goals. This thus earned him a move to South African side, Free State Stars and later Royal Eagles where he currently plies his trade.

Kizza is quick to stress that it’s never easy to play abroad as there’s a lot one has got to endure in order to see their stay materialise substantial returns.

“For one to leave their country and go to another country to play football is a big sacrifice. Every footballer would love to go overseas to play but many go and return.”

“Not because they’ve failed but because they go through a lot till they say enough is enough or till one gives up. Life overseas is good if one is resolute,” Kizza notes.

With all that said, one may ponder long on how the 22-year-old winger has adjusted to life in South Africa. But it’s imperative to note that Kizza has always been on the move from a very tender age which exposed him to the food, climate, habits and nature of people abroad at an early age thus easy acclimatisation.

“First of all, I started travelling abroad when I was 14 years old when I first travelled to Denmark. We were three kids picked, including Kakeeto Robert (currently with Aalborg Boldspilklub) and Sadat Ssekagya.”

“I also went to Serbia though not for a long time, then I went to Croatia for about two months. So, I came to South Africa knowing what is expected of me and what I had to do,” he adds.

You’ve got to give it to Kizza for his maiden start in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) of South Africa, he joined midway through the season with 10 games left to spare.

Every time he was given a chance, he delivered much as the team was struggling, he had two assists to his name, unfortunately for him, the side he played for was relegated.

Kizza is quick to stress the fact that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is vastly different from the Uganda Premier League (UPL) in the way of training and a lot more. He points out how highly tactical the PSL is with a stark contrast to the UPL which is less tactical but vastly physical.

“In South Africa, the game is treated as a business. From a tender age, kids are inculcated into the norm if playing football and the stadiums there are always with lots of fans,” Kizza stresses before adding

“Even the styles of play are so different because in South Africa there are a lot of facilities. Kids grow up playing in good conditions while in Uganda we struggle a lot with facilities and regalia.”

So that just goes an extra mile to clearly state how far behind our local league lies in terms of catching up with the magnificent PSL. In the PSL nothing is taken for granted hence the quality of football on show and the vast numbers have also enabled them attract some of the biggest brands around.

Those big brands come with big cheques hence better remuneration for the players, something of a farfetched dream when the UPL is called into question. Outside of the money aspect, the attitude the players carry about while playing their trade is top notch.

Kizza does point out how the attitude is up there with players giving their all every other training session simply because they appreciate the kind of situation, they find themselves in.

“Every training, players give 100% irrespective of whether they played, scored or not. The training sessions are captured on camera which is not the case in Uganda.”

The essence of that is to allow the coaches dig into the tiniest of details after the training sessions which allows them call certain decisions.

This means the players do not take their foot off the pedal at any one moment hence the heightened level of performance both in the training sessions and come game day.

With that kind of quality surrounding Kizza, one is quick to think that surely, it’s a matter of time before he does get his call up to the National team again.

He has seven caps to his name, four of those in FIFA regulated competitions while three are outside that but he’ll surely take them all with pride just in a bid to rack up his numbers in national colours.

This is a prospect the young winger is surely looking at with widely opened eyes as depicted in his statement.

“I was once on the national team. I would love to be recalled again and I’ll use that opportunity to help my nation and also hope for a better opportunity,” said the winger.

With that said, it’s surely a matter of time before we see the left footed winger in the red and black of the national team and that would be something to herald for the Villa faithful as he’s come to be known as one of their very own.

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