By Asaph Mwebaze
There are plenty of footballers who have been described as having played football how you’d like it played.
I have seen the likes of Phillip Omondi, Steven Bogere, Livingstone Mbabazi, Willy Kyambadde, Edgar Watson and Allan Okello, few currently fit the bill as well as Muzamir Mutyaba in the last five years.
The midfielder may not be a mainstay in the Cranes, but that didn’t matter if you saw him play.
This is a man who is the most important person on almost every pitch he enters, and if that means never stepping higher up the pyramid that won’t matter.
I first saw Mutyaba in 2006 playing for Katanga FC in Wandegeya and Buddo SS as a schoolboy. It was easy to notice him because of his casual approach to the game.
While others played with grit and enthusiasm, he played as if in slow motion and without regard of others on the pitch. He made things happen with very little effort and most people construed him as lazy.
After Maroons’ promotion after 20 years out of the league in 2007, coach Abdallah Mubiru brought him to Luzira for trials. I remember after the morning session the older players in the cafeteria wondering what they had just seen on the field of play.
When he moved to KCCA in 2015, coach Mike Mutebi who is one hard person to please famously called him ‘Fantasista’, thus the nickname ‘Fanta’.
In Italy, the same type of players known as ‘Fantasista’ are revered in a world of catenaccio where defensive football is a part of the national psyche.
Players who can elevate themselves above such ethos and thrive in such a rigid system of playing are seen as priceless commodities and ones to be celebrated and cherished.
Mutyaba is someone who treated regular games as if they were his own testimonial, to the point that there were times you thought he was more bothered about embarrassing opponents than by finding the net.
In one famous spat with him, I had benched him for a league game against Proline FC in Luzira, Maroons took an early lead and we were comfortably running the game out.
I looked at my bench and saw him and I was sure he would give the team more impetus in attack.
So, I called him up and gave him instructions to play forward and keep the ball in the wide areas so as to frustrate our opponents.
Mutyaba got on the field and immediately begun to dribble everybody he came across attempting to score in an empty net. Unfortunately, Yasin Mugabi stopped him and Proline was given a get out of jail card.
Mutyaba has been a nightmare for opposing defenders in the Uganda Premier League and especially those that have visited the Philip Omondi Stadium in recent years.
Teams could get tight on him and risk getting beaten all ends up, or stand-off, give him space and have the exact same thing happen, only half a second later.
Most of the time, when you’re learning to play football, a coach will warn you not to attempt a turn using just your back because ‘it won’t work’ or ‘that’s a stupid idea’, but Mutyaba never knew the meaning of such criticisms.
Mutyaba has been quite successful in his football journey, winning the Uganda Cup and Nile Basin Cup with SC Victoria University, Three league titles and two Uganda Cups with KCCA FC a crowning it with the FUFA Player of the year Award in 2017.
In 2019, he won the both the CECAFA Club Championship and the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup with KCCA and the Uganda Cranes respectively.
It’s sufficed to say Muzamir Mutyaba has been the best KCCA FC player in the last five years of their dominancy and could arguably be the most consistent performer in the league in the same period.
As a coach, I dreaded playing against him because of the attention to him or distraction thereof.
In the opening game of the season 2017/18 season, I took my newly promoted team to Lugogo and had spent an entire week drilling Orombi on tracking Mutyaba.
Our tactical approach was to get him substituted and thus less mental work. Orombi came good and almost followed him to the dressing room. He famously asked Orombi ‘if he came to play him?’ Well, that was the strategy.
And to our relief, Mutebi pulled him off and we took a famous draw from Lugogo.
Au revoir, adios the magician, wish you the best in your next adventure. If I were the other rivals, I would snap you in a heartbeat.
In a few years, you immortalized yourself and without a spec of doubt a club legend at Kampala Capital City Authority Football Club.
The author is a CAF B licensed coach, he also holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accounting and Finance Degree and a Master of Arts in Public Administration.