Samuel Kato Nemeyimana has been one of the silver linings for KCCA in a season the 13-time league champions failed to defend the title when the league was ended due to Covid19 pandemic.
The lanky centre back earned his first senior KCCA debut against Azam FC in CECAFA last year and has never looked back since then.
He has been a pillar at KCCA FC who lost Timothy Awany before the season started.
Kato says that it has been a long and hectic journey to the top.
His parents did not have money to further his studies and had to plead for a bursary, possibly because of his talent.
But was he good enough?
“During my Primary Seven vacation, I started to look for a secondary school that could offer me a football bursary,” Kato, born in 1999 at Mulago hospital, recalls.
“That was the only solution because my mother who paid my school fees through the whole primary said that she doesn’t have money so she couldn’t afford and manage my secondary fees and my father had other children to cater for.”
Kato adds that he met former Kyetume FC player Ismael Zziwa who connected him to St Julian SS for trials.
After the trials, he was given a half bursary and he had to look for the balance which he could not get.
“The coach said that my performance was average and I don’t deserve a full bursary, but on a sad note, I could not afford the remaining balance.”
The young defender never gave up despite losing the first trials with St Juliana and he went back to Zziwa to explain what had transpired.
“Zziwa advised me to try Buddo senior school under coach kaka that used train in Naguru. On arrival, I was laughed at by the coach claiming that I would not manage football and by then I was a midfielder.
“I was given trials but never succeeded. I pleaded to continue training with them, although with no hope of a bursary.”
Kati says that he would travel very kilometers to Naguru to and one day, in a friendly game, he was given a chance to play and he welcomed the chance with open arms.
“I impressed coach Kaka but he told that he is taking me to defence not midfield because he said I would not manage there, and they started training me as a defender.”
Kato remembers that when the PLE results came back, he had passed and “they had no other option than taking me to Buddo for bursary.”
t captained Buddo and won he 2018 Copa coca-cola in Mbarara when they beat Blessed Sacrament Kimanya in the final.