The Observer (Kampala)

6 December 2012

Uganda: How About Cecafa's Footballer of the Year?

The festive season we all know is a period of giving, sharing and kindness. But by the look of things, this doesn't apply to Jennifer Musisi's KCCA stewards. On Tuesday evening, as I reminisced about Cranes' 2-0 quarter-final win over Ethiopia, I saw KCCA stewards in their yellow T-shirts jump off their yellow and green pickup to round off some helpless women.

This was inside the old taxi park where they impounded everything from phone-chargers to grasshoppers. In a flash, Bobi Wine's famous song: Tugambire ku Jennifer made a lot of sense.

A buddy, nicknamed the 'Fox' from his university days, played this song upon its release and made me aware of it. He would have been equally saddened by the actions of these seemingly heartless men that poured one's probable life savings onto the pickup without remorse.

Like these women, 'Fox' also lost a big part of his earnings and I doubt he's looking forward to Christmas. He's in pain. Nevertheless, the Christmas spirit remains unchanged, and right now, rewarding Africa's Footballer of the Year is the rage.

But this spirit is not being felt in the Cecafa tournament and one wonders why. Nicholas Musonye, the Cecafa general secretary, obviously hasn't thought about such a thing.

Personally, I have keenly watched both the Cecafa Kagame and Tusker cups this year and my pick is Tanzania and Azam's winger, Mrisho Ngasa. The pint-sized forward's quick feet and speed have mesmerized many defences and he was the reason Azam FC made it to the final of the Cecafa Kagame club championship for the first time in the club's history. Plus, he has been the focal-point of Tanzania's attacks, an attribute well accentuated by his five goals last weekend against Somalia.

Indeed, if he manages to win the Cecafa Tusker Cup with Tanzania this weekend, he will have done himself a lot of good. His club teammate and compatriot John Bocco has also raised his regional profile as a deadly centre-forward and he would be a worthy pick too.

In fact, when I look keenly, I'm spoilt for choice. Rwanda's Captain Haruna Niyonzima came for the Cecafa Tusker Cup with the spotlight on him. This was largely because of his exciting display in helping Yanga FC win the Cecafa Kagame Cup in July.

Although Rwanda lost at the quarter-final stage, Niyonzima played gallantly with a strapped thigh. This wasn't by coincidence - Niyonzima was the chief orchestra of Rwanda's good fortunes as he was for Yanga. Much of Niyonzima's incisive passing also played a big role in Uganda's Hamis Kiiza's goals for Yanga. In fact, one of them was the best goal of the tournament.

In Uganda, Kiiza has put his foot forward as a realistic contestant for the award. Although his Cranes performances haven't been extraordinary, the energy he brings to the team has been effective.

It's that kind of energy that Didier Drogba brings into the game each time he plays. This means that for the Africa award, it is no brainer - Drogba takes it. When it comes to the world, the Fifa Ballon d'Or is a little confusing.

The understanding is that since Andres Iniesta beat both Messi and Ronaldo to the European footballer of the year award, it shouldn't emerge that they beat him in the Ballon d'Or.

And could someone tell me why Radamel Falcao isn't on this shortlist despite helping Atletico Madrid win the Uefa Europa League and the Uefa Super Cup, not to mention his role in Colombia's 2014 World Cup qualifiers?

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