Muhamad Shaban: Could he end up as a story of the boy who failed to harness himself?

By Allan Damba

Born about 500 kilometres from Kampala in Arua, embroidered with talent, hope for his family and his community’s fancy dream, Muhamad ‘Jagason’ Shaban looked destined for greatness.

He starred for Uganda’s secondary school football giants, St.Mary’s SS Kitende, joining the club’s Vipers Junior Team.

He was the hot cake, he was blazing, and yes, he was a banger even as a kid. The future was super bright. The world was on his feet.

The expectations would soon pop up and were always sky-high. The scramble for Shaban’s signature soon after his stint with the Vipers Junior team emerged.

Would he stay with his soccer teachers, or a move back home in Arua to Onduparaka FC would happen. Such was the anticipation and the anxiety.

Eventually, Shaban signed for his home team in 2015. At the time, they were playing in the Big League – Uganda’s second tier, helping them gain promotion into the top flight league for the first time in their history that year aged only 17.

In 2016, the boy’s star continued to shine brighter, this time at a bigger stage, helping his team finish fifth in their first Uganda Premier League season. Also, as their Captain, he went ahead to scoop the FUFA Player of the Year Award that year.

Yes, Muhammad Shaban was a lion. League giants would then rekindle a scramble for the star marksman. Vipers and KCCA FC all battled for his signature before the latter succeeded in 2017.

Again, the world was on his feet. He had everyone talking; Uganda’s next big thing. But, what went wrong? Where did it go unplanned?

The answers lay with Shaban himself. The discipline, the attitude and the mentality towards his job.

Everything changed from the boy who at 18 captained a team to fifth to a boy who came late and missed training, a boy who wouldn’t avoid a bust-up or two with a coach or a teammate.

Despite banging in the goals, he had a bad disciplinary record to go with his temperament. At some point during KCCA’s preparation to face St. George in the CAF Champions League, Shaban missed training.

The irony was although head coach Mike Mutebi threatened to dump him, he turned up in the game and scored the decisive winner.

He was also the league’s second top scorer with 14 goals.  Such was (is) Shaban; he can decide to show up or not.

In 2018, he made a big-money move to Moroccan and African heavyweights Raja Casablanca amidst interests from all over the continent including South Africa’s Orlando Pirates.

On foreign land, his disciplinary record was bound to fail him. Reports emerged of how he had fallen out with members of the team and this was never going to help.

Coupled with injuries that limited him to only three appearances, the stint was a failure and after mutual agreement, he returned home in 2019.

Because he was a proven talisman on home soil, he penned a two-year contract in August 2019 with boyhood team Vipers even when he was still nursing a knee injury, this time ready to revive his career.

A threat to defenders, he looked a deal worth every penny on paper. But, alas! The opposite is true, the past has haunted him at Kitende.

Despite overcoming injury coming into the 2020/2021 season, the 23-year-old has been limited to only nine appearances and with just one goal-his first in the first game against Wakiso Giants in December 2020.

At the St Mary’s, the past has yet again caught up with him. He was reportedly involved in a bust-up with head coach Fred Kajoba and allegedly hit one of the mirrors to pieces at the stadium.

His attitude and mentality issues have also once again come to question. He last appeared against former side KCCA on March 17, albeit, for eight minutes.

He has now missed seven in succession inclusive of the Uganda Cup through an internal suspension. Could Shaban end up as a story of the boy that failed to get past himself?

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