Dan Wagaluka is one of the best wingers Uganda has produced in recent memory.
His dazzling speed and ability to setup strikers which he has displayed both on club and international level, has drawn comparison to the likes of Sam Ssimbwa and Obadiah Ssemakula.
To play wide, was far beyond Wagaluka’s imagination until he arrived at SC Villa but he made the adaptability and transition into a modern day winger seamless.
In an interview with David Kalyango, Wagaluka reflected on his career.
“When I arrived at SC Villa, there is no way I could have a place in central midfield ahead of Hakim Magumba and Edgar Watson,” Wagaluka says.
“Watson and Magumba owned were the landlords in central midfield. So, Villa coach then, Micho (Milutin Sredejovich), had to push me wide.”
“At seven, I had to fight with Joseph Kabagambe, and at some stage, I had to play in right back position.”
In 2003, Wagaluka won everyone’s trust when he delivered two good crosses which Alex Isabirye (now coach at Ntamityobora) scored to hand Villa the deserved 2-0 win over Kinyara in Masindi.
It was a crucial game for SC Villa who wanted a victory to win the title against Express who was facing Top TV in the other game at Nakivubo.
In the national side, he scored on his debut as Uganda beat Ethiopia 2-1 at Nakivubo.
He went on to establish himself as a starter in the Uganda Cranes fold ahead of Kabagambe and Vincent Kayizzi.
In the beginning, the proud Musoga, born in a family of 10, was spotted by Eddie Butindo who took him to FOF (Friends of Football Academy in 1996.
He studied at Citizen High, Mulusa and St Mary’s Kitende.
He played for Iganga Town Council before joining SC Villa.
Wagaluka won almost everything at Villa – three league, Kakungulu (Uganda Cup) and was part of the squad that won the CECAFA Cup.
Life After SC Villa
He ended his four year stay to join URA FC in 2006 where he teamed up with the likes of Tonny Mawejje, Patrick Ochan and Sam Nadduli.
He had his deal to join Scottish Club Inverness CT in 2008, at the same time David Obua played at Hearts, but the deal fell through after it proved costly in finding a permit before deadline day.
He had impressed Inverness after playing for them in a Barry Wilson testimonial game against Liverpool FC where he set up the third goal.
Wagaluka later returned to URA FC but was poached by Tanzania’s Azam FC.
He had stints Rwanda’s APR as well but a presidential decision by Paul Kagame “who chased away foreign players” saw Wagaluka and the likes of Habib Kavuma, Johnson Bagoole and Kipson Atuhaire return to Uganda.
He joined Soana (now Tooro United) notably scoring in the playoffs finals as the club earned UPL promotion. Siraje Turyamuhebwa and Mike Kalungi were on target as Soana dispatched Katale.
The Winger has had stints with Western Stima and Maroons.
He signed for Big League side Ntamityobora FC because coach Alex Isabirye is “my friend” last year.
Eyeing UPL Return:
The veteran says that he still has what it takes to play in the Uganda Premier League because of his experience and I am “still speedy as ever.”
Last season, he was one of the best players for Ntamityobora FC in a league that was ended by FUFA due to Covid19 pandemic.
“I am still actively involved in football, I had a deal to go abroad but it all went in smoke due to this Covid19 pandemic,” Wagaluka adds.
“I am a free agent, my contract with Ntamityobora expired because it was just for one year.
“I can score some goals and I still have my pace. I just need an agent we get the deal on board.”
Up-close with Wagaluka
He says that his best friend at club level was Isma Kigozi while on the national team was David Obua who is “free, simple and a good man up to now”.
On his worst game, he cited the national team encounter between Uganda and Niger where he had family issues.
He says: “My wife had left with everything. She stole all my riches. We played the Niger game during that period and I was criticised by many journalists after I put up a poor show but few could understand what I was going through at the moment. I could not turn down an offer to play for the national team at the time, it was my job to play.”
He says that the wife who stole his riches later died.
On what has kept him moving and still playing, Wagaluka credits enough rest and eating well.
On his best captain, Wagaluka named Edgar Watson (Villa). “A true leader, very calm and close to players than to the administration unlike other players. Even when you sit in his position in a team bus, he could say that its okay unlike other captains who boss around.”
He named Lugoloobi (Victors) as his worst opponent because “he always came to kick legs.”