Mbarara City FC new signing Ivan Donald Otude, alias Chilean, was keen to narrate and provide a perspective about why his move to the Ankole Lions is a dream that turned into reality.
The midfielder also indicated how he had for long harboured an ambition to play in the Ugandan topflight league.
Trickster, razor-sharp, pepper-hot, and all the other superlatives that the local fans back in Ongino-Opera-Keele village regularly used to describe the tall and slim midfielder, Otude easily comes off as a special talent.
It’s his industry that ultimately earned him the enduring nickname “Chilean” in reference to his sleek and swift approach to the game. A fitting name if as highlighted by those that have had the chance to watch him play.
The right-footed midfielder, who can be effectively employed in the left wing but seems most comfortable and takes pride in attacking midfield positions, number eight or 10 was eloquent in highlighting his excitement towards this new adventure.
He spoke to Football256 in an exclusive interview where he went ahead to confess that at some point, even just the thought of furthering his raw football talent was inconceivable.
“When you are young you always want to play for a big club in the premiership, but every other day you train in hard conditions, you realize it is not that easy,” the soft spoken player made mention.
In a typical African setting, the idea of limited resources is quite comprehensible, more so for a player who has played football with his bare feet for more years than he has with soccer boots.
“Limited resources and poor nurturing contribute a lot to the negative mentality of the players towards the game, nonetheless, football is a much loved sport here,” Otude added.
“The best facilities were not available to mould me into the best player I could be, so I had to utilize my very best, my every good quality and ability to become relevant.”
Born in Kumi district, Teso region of Eastern Uganda twenty-four years ago (July 3rd), Otude, confessed that until 2016, he did not own a proper pair of soccer boots.
Five years does seem a long time ago but it does seem odd to play without boots in the modern era but understandable because even the great South American and fellow African players literally grew up playing street football barefooted.
The likes of Sadio Mané, Gabriel Jesüs and the majority of those that form this elastic list narrate their ordeal involving starting to play the game without boots. Actually, their story has a semblance to that of Otude.
Otude’s light at the end of the tunnel would only appear in the late teens when he got his first pair of proper soccer boots, some oversize fair-play Nike kickers donated to him by a football loving friend.
Meanwhile, Otude will be expected to provide more options to the Mbarara City midfield following his agreement to sign a four-year employment contract that will see him stay at the club until at least 2025.
“Now that I am here, it is a great platform for me to exhibit my abilities. This is not the end of it all, but just a brand new beginning. I can not wait to prove myself in the league.”
“All those big names I looked up to, and looking at myself now knowing I’ll be playing with and against them in the same league, that means a lot to me and my development as a player.”
Otude is not shy to express how he really admires Vipers and Cranes’ international Ibrahim Orit, formerly of Mbarara City, alongside his homeboy and SC Villa striker Isaac ‘Falcao’ Ogwang whose story is quite similar to his own.
He also remains unwavering when speaking about his readiness to fight for a spot in the starting lineup of the team despite just being new to the club.
The midfielder is not done yet and still dreams of playing for the national team, but first, he will have to make a mark in the Premier League which will require him to impress at Mbarara City.
Otude’s fairy journey to the UPL
In the North Eastern regional division of the country, Otude first featured for Kumi United in the 2017/18 season before later making a notable move to TEPA Vipers SC in Ngora district.
He earned his exposure by playing for the prestigious region against the national team in the “Cranes Na Mutima” campaign, a game hosted in Katakwi district.
He consequently also featured in the FUFA drum tournament where he played with big name players that were with clubs in the topflight league like Ben Ocen, Ivan Eyamu among others. A big turnaround in his football career.
That was also where he was spotted the most by relevant people including those who eventually made his anticipated move to Mbarara City possible.