Allan Okello, then a student at Kibuli SS, was named Most Valuable Player in the 2016 Copa Coca-cola schools tournament held in Soroti.
The following year, alongside Mustafa Kizza, Noel Nasasira, Herbert Achai, Peter Magambo and Kibuli SS teammate Julius Poloto, Okello was unveiled at KCCA FC by an excited coach Mike Mutebi.
Before his depature to Algerian giants Paradou Athletic Club in January 2020, the youngster had already made a name for himself and was earlier at the brink of joining a club in Europea, a dream that remains valid.
There is no doubt, if his past performances are to be judged, he is to lead Uganda Cranes in this new century.
Here are the five games that have defined the fans favourite – Allan ‘Joly’ Okello.
KCCA FC 7-0 Onduparaka
On the February 27 2017, at the age of 16 years, coach Mutebi handed attacking midfielder Allan Okello his debut in a highly billed Uganda Premier League fixture.
Standing as the most attended fixture at StarTimes Stadium (Phillip Omondi Stadium then), Okello was not taken away but used the platform to write his name in the history books.
The youngster had been named the FUFA Juniors league MVP last season.
It took Okello just 10 minutes to put his name on the score-sheet when he bundled home a loose ball after Onduparaka defence failed to clear away Muzamir Mutyaba’s freekick.
His fine finish set the tone for the game as KCCA went to dismiss Onduparaka 7-0 with Okello grabbing an hat-trick while Paul Musamali, Robert Ssentongo (2) and Geoffrey Sserunkuma scored the other goals.
In the game, he made two assists for Ssentongo including a well weighed chip that defied Onduparaka defence.
Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 KCCA FC
Nearly two weeks after his league debut, Mutebi not only put his teenager on the plane but also threw him in a crucial CAF Champions League preliminary game against Africa’s power houses Mamelodi Sundowns.
Okello made his way as a substitute in the 80th minute, donning a jersey that visibly looked heavy and bigger than his small body, replacing goalscorer Geoffrey Sserunkuma.
He cherished his moment at a hostile ground many teenagers would fear to tread. His cameo garnered praises from the opponents including Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane who has since then rated the player highly.
In the return leg which ended 1-1 after KCCA leading for almost an entire day, Okello continued to earn the trust of coach Mutebi who handed him 45 minutes against an experienced side with a number of South Africa national team players.
Bafana Bafana Midfielder Samuel Tiyani Mabunda piled huge praises for the teenager and also gifted him a pair of playing boots.
Mabunda took to his Facebook and posted “… Meet 16-year old Okello….may his career be guarded by angelic hosts. I believe this boy is going to be a very valuable asset to come out of this continent by the grace of Jehovah…”
The prayers have since been answered.
KCCA FC 1-0 SC Villa
On February 15 2018, KCCA needed Okello to overcome bitter rivals Villa in another tough fixture.
The teenager came off the bench to replace Jackson Nunda at the beginning of the second half.
His ferocious strike was denied by the woodwork in the 76 minutes, and he kept on pushing.
With four minutes left on the clock, Villa defender Henry Katongole fouled Shaban Mohammed about 25 yards from goal.
With Saddam Juma readying to take the freekick, Okello ‘stole’ responsibility. Boom. His beautiful freekick beat an outstanding Samson Kirya in goal to send the yellow-brigade into wild celebrations.
Cometh the hour, cometh the teenager.
KCCA FC 2-0 UPDF
On 9th 2018 April, KCCA FC hosted stubborn UPDF trying to keep the pace with leaders Vipers in the Uganda Premier League.
In what was supposed to be an ‘easy’ tie on paper, UPDF looked determined to frustrate the hosts as they defended and attacked in equal measures.
Even when Suleiman Majanjaro was sent off minutes after the hour-mark – his second booking thanks to a foul on Okello – UPDF remained contenders and hard to break thanks to goalkeeper Bashir Ssekagya.
When KCCA was on the verge of dropping two vital points at home and with all hopes lost, it took a late double from Okello to not only beat UPDF but also reignite their title chase.
Ssekagya who had ealier denied Okello in the first stanza, was beaten by his fellow teenager in the 80th and 86th minute as KCCA snatched late maximum points.
His first goal that settled nerves was a class of beauty: He was fed by Hassan Musana before drilling in with his strong left foot. He later fired in a second with his right to give the score a decent look in a game the visitors were not supposed to walk away empty handed.
Somalia 0-2 Uganda Cranes
Okello came into the tie with his legacy cemented – He had been named the Airtel FUFA player of the year a night earlier, beating Mustafa Kizza and Bright Anukani to the crown.
With all the three players on the field, Okello ensured that he won the second personal battle and proved the few doubters wrong.
In an outstanding performance, he scored twice – in the 26th and 67th minute – as Uganda beat Somalia for their second win from as many group games.
With many Somali fans pushing their side, Okello settled nerves with a deflected long range shot that took an awkward bounce before beating the keeper at the low post in the first half. But it was his second goal that grabbed most of the attention.
The youngster, dashing from the right flank, beat his marker to cut inside – a move that many fans knew what was to happen next – produced a curling effort with his left foot into the top corner. A typical Okello strike. A messi-esque.
And Paraodu came calling.
*Lango province 6-1 sebei (He scored an hat-trick in front his adoring fans and family).
*KCCA FC 4-3 Green Eagles (He scored 2 and an assist as KCCA FC over came Zambia’s Eagles to storm Semi-finals of the cecafa kagame cup)
*2016 Copa Coca-cola with Kibuli
*The two ties against Mtibwa Sugar.