Defender Denis Iguma will reunite with his former boss Mike Mutebi at the StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo on a free transfer.
Iguma has been without a club for close to 18-months now since suffering an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury to his left knee while playing for Lebanese side Bekaa FC in January 2019.
KCCA and Iguma have agreed on terms to a two-year contract – hijacking URA and SC Villa’s plans of buttressing their defensive options – with the defender finally unveiled by the club on Sunday.
With defender John Revita out for the better half of the coming 12 months, and the club preparing for another campaign in the CAF Confederations Cup, there was the need to fill the void left by Revita to help bolster the club’s defensive options.
However, the question marks over the 26-year-old move are not over his aptitude as a defender, I believe KCCA is getting a fine diamond albeit with a few rough edges; given his experience and unquestionable quality as a defender.
The biggest handicap though lies with his past relationship with Mutebi stemming from their fall out over tactics while the pair were still at SC Villa in 2012.
During a league game between Villa and Vipers (then Bunamwaya) in 2012, Mutebi’s team was run rugged by their rivals for the entire opening half.
Vipers’ dominance in the game clearly due to tactical reasons, but Mutebi in his haughty and uppish way was not going to bulge and change his approach and by half time the Jogoo were lucky to be just 2-0 down.
During half time, Iguma skyjacked coaching duties from Mutebi and re-organised his teammates into a formation he thought brought out the best from them.
While their second-half performance was better, they failed to wrestle the result back.
That was one of the many heated run-ins between Mutebi and his captain while at Villa Park. In the end, the two couldn’t work together and Iguma was moved on to SC Victoria University.
Recently, Mutebi has made it a habit of signing players who showed promise and potential as youngsters, with little consideration to what their careers are at because he believes they still have a lot to offer and his decision has been vindicated with every passing signing.
He rarely works with those he doesn’t have a healthy relationship with though; Simon Sserunkuuma was recently tried but his relationship with Mutebi was an entanglement.
There have been reported peace talks between the pair to iron out the differences that stem from their earlier fallout, and we have to wait for whatever fruits the talks will bear.
But Mutebi is not one to easily bury the hatchet. However, eight years on, you give him the benefit of doubt as they are at different stages of their careers now.
Sad that the fallout from eight years ago has downcast what should be the biggest transfer so far this window.
On the flip side, it is ambition and sheer competitiveness that drove Iguma to under look Mutebi’s tactics. The defender is an independent thinker, and like Mutebi possesses a self-confidence that can appear arrogant, neither does he underrate himself.
Such character is definitely significant to the rebuilding project on-going at Lugogo.
With quite a number of senior players leaving, KCCA requires big character players who are not intimidated by their surroundings. Like Gift Ali ‘Gigi’ and Charles Lukwago, Iguma has the personality to savour the challenge at KCCA.
Mutebi has favoured a three-man defence sometimes shifting to a back four, with emphasis on building from the back.
The 26-year-old seamlessly fits into either set-up as a right-sided centre half in a back four or the right defender in a back three. He can also ably play at full-back or even as a sweeper the options seem unlimited for him.
Iguma is happy with the ball at his feet. He has the brains and traits of a ‘Mutebi-Esque’ defender, and that will give confidence to the midfield trio of Gift Ali, Kezironi Kizito and probably Ashraf Mugume during play.
Yes, besides the fitness concerns that come with the lengthy injury, Iguma offers a range of attributes that only a few share. In his younger years, he was branded a worthy heir to legend Ibrahim Ssekagya.
Ssekagya may be the greater technical talent but, his mentor did not quite have the versatility and was never as quick as Iguma.
It is that turn of speed and undoubted quality in one against one that gives KCCA an extra dimension. Their backline looked a bit too static and susceptible on the counter-attack and against fast and direct forwards.
A general lack of speed was a downside to Revita and Samuel Kato’s partnership last season, neither can be faulted, but Iguma’s arrival provides a more imposing, quicker and resolute option.
Timothy Awany’s departure at the start of last season robbed KCCA and Mutebi of much-needed leadership within the squad.
Subsequent departures of Allan Okello, Patrick Kaddu, Allan Kyambadde made it even worse.
Sulaiman ‘Mike’ Mutyaba is retiring while Muzamir Mutyaba is also on the way out, Iguma promises to remedy the growing lack of on the field leadership and attitude within the squad.
Together with Lukwago, Gift Ali, Julius Poloto, Mustafa Kizza the Kasasiro Boys squad now has the character and mentality they looked void of especially during the title chase last season.
That leadership coupled with reliability ought to restore the Kasasiro Boys to the summit of the league.
Unlike what they did with Mugume, Charles Lwanga and Italian Stefano Mazengo, KCCA is getting a proven performer but also the potential that will surely make economic sense by the end of his two-year contract.
Still only 26, Iguma ought to get better, but first, eight years on he should finally form a working relationship with Mutebi.