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Rewind: Vicent Kayizzi Reflects On Uganda Cranes’ Bitter Draw With Kenya

Vicent Kayizzi in national colours. Monitor photo

Bobby Williamson looked dejected after the Mauritius referee blow the final whistle, Cranes players laid on the turf in total dismay while others staggered into the dressing room in tears. You could hear a pin drop in the stands.

Saturday, October 2011 will always be remembered as a dark day in Ugandan football. Bitter rivals and neighbours Kenya Harambee Stars evaded Namboole and denied optimistic Uganda Cranes.

The goalless draw, combined with Angola’s 2-0 away win against Guinea Bissau meant that Uganda has once again missed on the place at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

It was the final day of Qualifiers, Uganda was this close to booking a ticket to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea. So Close, yet so far.

Winger Vicent Kayizzi had given out his best, just like most members on the team, before he was taken off at the hour-mark for Moses Oloya.

“That game is my worst moment,” Kayizzi remembers. “We didn’t win the Kenyans, we needed just a win at home to qualify.”

“In the dressing room, everybody’s head was down. It wasn’t good for the nation, everybody was not happy with the team, but life moves on.”

The Scottish coach had opted for Geoffrey Massa and Brian Umony upfront ahead of Geoffrey Sserunkuma and Robert Ssentongo.

Tony Mawejje, Kayizzi and Mike Sserumaga were the other attack-minded players in the starting XI. However, the team failed to break a Kenya side that had goalkeeper Arnold Otieno Origi named the man of the match.

Denis Onyango, Simeon Masaba, Nestroy Kizito, Andy Mwesigwa, Musa Mudde and Ibrahim Ssekagya were the other players who started the game in what many have since referred to as the ‘golden team.’

“I think it wasn’t,” Kayizzi refutes the ‘golden’ generation tag. “We didn’t win many accolades, so I think good things are yet to come.”

Despite the players giving it their best, there were headlines that claimed that the game was fixed!

Kayizzi comments: “Fake sayings, whenever a player performs under his expectations then that’s a fixed game, we didn’t win and that’s the only option we had.”

Kayizzi, now at Kyetume FC, got his first national team call up in 2007 when Lazslo Csaba was a coach then.

Geoffrey Massa scored a brace (penalties) as Uganda beat a star-studded Nigeria in Kayizzi’s debut. Then, the winger was still a KCC player.

Kayizzi’s football journey started in Masaka where he studied at Ssaza primary St Charles Lwanga Kasasa, Masaka SS before joining Standard High School Zzana.

“I was still still at Standard High when I joined KCC in 2004,” Kayizzi reflects.

He says that he was inspired by many people to play football, including Peter ‘Smokie’ Byaruhanga who was at St Henry’s College Kitovu. “He was a star.”

Kayizzi is a big friend to Tonny Mawejje and says that his hardest opponent has been Godfrey ‘Jajja Walu’ Walusimbi while Ibrahim Ssekajja (Uganda) and Christiano Ronaldo (international) are the best players he has ever seen.

“My best moment was when I was summoned on the national team,” Kayizzi adds, and reveals that training with the likes of Ssekajja and Obua was a great feeling.

The winger has also played for APR (Rwanda), Srem Mitrovica (Serbia), Novi Pazar (Serbia), URA FC, Motor Lublin (Poland), Vipers, KCCA and Bukavu Dawa (DR Congo).

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