By Jonathan Ntege Lubwama
Today, we start a series of indepth interviews with our local footballers. Our first interview is with Nelson Senkatuka. The youngster currently plays for Proline FC after a season with KCCA FC. We caught up with him to unveil this fresh young face on the Ugandan football scene.
.Hello Nelson. Its nice to finally get hold of you. Your name is growing in football circles here and there, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, education and football journey so far?
I’m the 2nd born in a family of 4 children. I have an elder sister, Pamela… and two younger brothers, George and Abraham. I started my education at Kampala kindergarten, went to Kampala Parents School and later City Parents School for my primary, King’s College Budo for my secondary education and then Holborn College, London for my university education where I got a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Wales…. I’ve been playing football since I can remember. Started playing at KKL, played football all through my high school where I eventually became the school team captain. Joined Hope Fc in s5, played 3 seasons for them before moving to London where I played for Cranes United and Erith and Belvedere Fc. Came back to Uganda last year and joined Kcca fc on loan from hope fc and now I’m playing for Proline fc on loan from Hope fc still.
How important was Hope FC in your career? What was your experience in the UK? Playing for Cranes UK and at Erith & Belvedere? Was it a good learning curve for you?
Hope Fc has been a big stepping stone in my career and that is where I first got noticed and started making a name for myself. It’s a tremendous group of people over there and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with them. I am still a hope fc player now but on loan to Proline fc. Playing in the UK really helped in my football development as I got to play in a different environment and this helped me to mature quickly. I bulked up as well as the game was more physical there than here. Training with the Dartford fc academy also helped a lot as there are not many proper football academies here. It’s from Dartford that I got recommended to Erith where I played semi pro for a season. I must say the league was a lot tougher than the premier league here. I played for Cranes UK in the nation’s cup and I top scored In the 2014 tournament with 13 goals in 7 games. I also top scored for Cranes United in the Essex alliance football league with 45 goals before coming back to Uganda.
3. Your first team at the top level was KCCA FC. I am personally a big fan of yours and I expected more goals than you managed. How did you find it?
I scored 4 goals in the 1st round. The top scorer at that time had about 7 or 8 so I wasn’t too far off at the half way point. Unfortunately at the start of the 2nd round I got a knee Injury and then fell out of favour with the gaffer so didn’t play much. I’m sure if I played more often I would have scored a couple of more goals. Other than that I enjoyed my time there especially in the 1st round and was glad to win the league in my 1st top flight season.
4.You are currently playing for Proline FC. Who convinced you to make that move from a well facilitated club like KCCA FC to a newly promoted side?
It wasn’t really a hard decision to make. I needed to be playing regularly to keep improving and I wasn’t getting that at Kcca fc. Similar to how Wilshere joined Bournemouth from Arsenal to get game time. I was close to joining vipers but the deal was taking too long to be completed. Mujib Kasule the Proline fc director had a chat with Ian Mutenda, the hope fc manager about joining his club and after I talked to Mujib, he convinced me to play for Proline. I could see the project he was trying to build and it was in line with my ambitions. They also signed some decent players like Savio Kabugo, Saidi Kyeyune, Kintu Sam so this convinced me that we would be able to compete in the league even though they had just been promoted.
5.You have a solitary cap for the national team. I remember that game in last year’s CECAFA. Its big to play for the national team. Weren’t you nervous? How did it feel to be left out of the CHAN team?
Yeah. It was a special moment playing for the national team and I’m working hard to become a regular in the team. There were a few nerves but I came on when we were 3 nil up so I just went out to enjoy my debut and I created the 4th goal. It was amazing to come out victorious in my 1st international tournament. It was obviously disappointing to be left out of the Chan team but at the end of the day the gaffer went for more experience than youth and I had to accept that.
6.What is the best goal you have ever scored even if its outside professional football? I had the privilege of watching you from way back in high school. There was this rock solid defender called Eddie Mwalye who you dummied twice alongside his goalkeeper and left them for dead with their backs on the ground before you slotted into an empty net. I remember that goal because I was behind the goal. Have you scored a better goal than that?
Haha, If I left him for dead on the ground, he’s not rock solid then, is he? That was a great goal. I’ve scored a few screamers and a number of important goals but that one is definitely up there among one of my best goals. If only I had video footage of some of those goals, they would be a good bet for the Puskas award.
7.You are one of the few Ugandan footballers that are very active on social media. What is the importance of social media to a footballer really?
Social media helps to connect you to people all over the world. You never know who you’re going to meet or who is following your career. It also helps to keep your fans, followers and well-wishes informed about what is going on. A big plus now as well is companies and organisations now look at your social media to see how many people are interested in you and how many people you influence when signing endorsement deals.
8. Tell us about your ambitions. What do you want to achieve in your career. What do you want to be remembered for when you call it a day?
I want to play professional football in Europe. I think that is every football players dream. Playing in the champions league…African cup… World Cup, never know. Stranger things have happened in football. I want to earn a decent living to support myself, my family and friends, to help those in need, to be an inspiration to many, to show that an ordinary kid from Uganda can make it at the top level and above all a testimony of God’s faithfulness.
9. Do you do anything outside football currently?
I’m playing football full-time now. But I have a few businesses I am managing here and there and trying to set up some investments for the future.
10. Any Last remarks?!
I’d like to thank everyone who has been there for me in one way or another. All the support and encouragement. I really appreciate it.
There are many people out there who are not doing what they love or following their passion. If you have a dream, work hard, stay focussed and dedicated and keep chasing it. Nobody knows what God has planned or what you are capable of achieving. You can’t live your life regretting what you could have or should have done.
It’s been a pleasure doing this interview and hopefully in a few years when I’m playing pro football at the top level we will be able to do another one. Take care and God bless.Its an absolute honour to talk to you. Thank you for your time. We wish you the best in your career and we look forward to doing another interview too in the future when you are definately household name in the footballing circles. Thank You