From Uganda with love; the intriguing tale of the free-scoring Kasumba
Like a hurricane, Ugandan hit man and Sofapaka golden boy Umaru Kasumba has taken the Kenyan Premier League by storm banging goals at will.
His impressive record, barely three months since he joined the Kenyan league has put him in strong contention for the coveted Golden Boot award, with six rounds of matches to go.
The Ugandan is at 11 goals, same as Ulinzi Stars veteran striker Stephen Waruru, while Nakumatt FC’s Kepha Aswani and Gor’s Meddie Kagere are among the chasing pack with 10 goals apiece.
Other promising challengers are Jacques Tuyisenge (Gor Mahia) and Chrispin Oduor of Mathare United, who both ties on nine goals so far.
However, it is Kasumba’s prolific record within the short stint he has been in the Kenyan league that has caught the attention of his peers and the football journalists.
Speaking to Citizen Digital, the former Uganda’s Sports Club Villa attacker said he has his eyes firmly set on the individual accolade.
“We are many in the race (for the Golden Boot), but this far I can confidently say that I want the award. It is never easy, because you cannot be sure what happens in the next match,” Kasumba said as he lifted the lid on what has so far been a smooth sailing debut season in Kenya’s top-tier domestic football competition.
“We are playing as a team and I’m enjoying scoring as the team wins. The coach wants the team to win, and you win by scoring goals so the individual and team goals synchronise so well,” Kasumba added.
Asked if the Kenyan topflight is an easy league compared to Uganda where he plied his trace in the 2015/2016 season, the soft spoken Kasumba was non-committal, but was quick to point out that his scoring instinct has been out in sundry for all to see.
“I was the second top scorer (with 15) in Uganda in 2015 so it is not about the league, but the player,” he said.
“According to me, the Kenyan league is more complicated than the Ugandan one, especially for a player who is making his debut,” he remarked.
After docking in Kenya just before the end of the 2016 season, Sofapaka’s Ugandan coach Ssam Ssimbwa found the 2009 champions flirting with relegation and had to find better players for 2017 campaign after evading the axe by a whisker.
Most of the players had joined rival clubs owing to financial crisis that rocked the Batoto ba Mungu, and the tactician would succeed in roping in his fellow countryman in the June transfer window.
Aware of what a new challenge would portend moreso across the borders where he had a happily awaiting god-father in a coach; Kasumba had no questions, joining without a second thought.
Besides, Ssimbwa brought attacking midfielder Ali Feni who has been singled out as the assist master for Kasumba.
“When my coach told me he wanted my services at Sofapaka, he also promised to bring good midfielders for a good unit. Feni (Ali) has been so pivotal among other players in creating the scoring chances,as he has been even in Uganda,” Kasumba remarked, adding that, “I didn’t doubt because of the struggles of the other season. It was not a gamble, and I feel Sofapaka is better than I found it already” he declares, bursting into alight chuckle.
As usual, any top player attracts attention to potential suitors. His coach Siimbwa is aware of this but is not bothered.
“I think this (transfer) conversation is ill -timed, but if it comes to pass that he moves in the future we will get a good replacement. Where I got him there are other quality strikers. However, he is concentrating in the current business,” Ssimbwa told Citizen Digital in a separate interview.
Although he has not put a goal target on his debut season, there is no gainsaying that the Ugandan is out to make a name in the KPL .It seems, like his compatriot before him, Dan Sserunkuma, who brought a lot of anguish to opposition defenders, moreso at the Ingwe den, Kasumba is out to rekindle those nostalgic memories.
However, as compared to the calm and collected Sserunkuma, a stocky stout frame but shy on and off the pitch, Kasumba is lanky and easy going, the love he has so found in his second home reflecting on his glowing face when he opened up for this interview.
Should he bag the top gong, he will replicate what Sserunkuma achieved in 2014 when he claimed the Golden Boot award on 16 goals while featuring for giants Gor Mahia.
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