Goalkeeper Joel Mutakubwa hopes he can lead BUL FC to major honors after playing a part in the Eastern Giants journey to the final of the FUFA super eight tournament.
Mutakubwa saved two penalties and scored one on his debut, on August 14 as the Eastern Giants outclassed SC Villa 6-5 in spot kicks to set up an eye catching contest with URA FC. The Uganda Cranes custodian joined BUL in June this year.
“I want to guide BUL to a major trophy,” he recently said.
No discussion of Mutakubwa can ignore the fact that he is an achiever. Wishing to win trophies with the Eastern Giants certainly therefore should not sound so outlandish given the success he has enjoyed along his playing career.
Other than guiding them to an automatic promotion to the topflight, he also won his boyhood club Busoga United the big league title seven years ago. This was followed by the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup triumph with the Cranes and the regional clubs’ version which he won in 2021 with Express. He was unanimously named as the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
He acknowledges that winning trophies however requires sweating blood, longer hours of practice and divine intervention.
“There are no short cuts in football. Football is all about hard work, patience and perseverance. It comes with challenges but the fear of God can help you through,” he said while pointing to where humans presume the most high resides.
There is an adage that says that a good striker can win you points but a good goal keeper wins you titles, literally telling how central gloves men can be to a team’s success. Mutakubwa is a one player who commands respect and breeds confidence amongst teammates given that he always stands tall and big in his area. BUL may have found Gold.
“I listen to my coaches and I do what I am supposed to do, and on time. When off the pitch, I make sure I don’t engage in things that can reduce my fitness levels.”
“I also discuss my challenges and weaknesses with the goalkeeping coach and we see a way of solving it.”
Some people share an opinion the Eastern Giants limped along a winless league run that stretched to 14 matches at the tail end of last season, but the right cards have since been placed to patch the grey areas that proved undoing the team’s strong ambitions.
Coach Abbey Kikomeko Bogere was welcomed to blend the mix of the youth and experience at the club, and as soon as he arrived, the rebuilding started. Mutakubwa was among the first new incomings brought in to bolster the goalkeeping area which was already well stocked, and he looks not frightened by the competition he is likely to face for a starting place between the sticks.
“The technical team had various reasons why they signed me. They saw my abilities and they thought that I am going to be a major inclusion into the squad,” he noted.
The goalkeeper, who began his playing career as a defender, shone to fame during the 2016/17 season, making eleven clean sheets to help Tooro United come fourth in the final rankings of that campaign. His catchy performances did not sail unnoticed, earning him a deserved call to the senior national team – The Uganda Cranes.
Since then, he has been a regular figure there and an outstanding performer in the colors of his previous pay masters – Kyetume, Busoga United, Express and Gaddafi FC, and our fans have already tasted the meal he is about to serve them during his sole appearance in the yellow and green.
His command while in goal, his unmatched shot stopping abilities, his good shot and long ball distribution art and his good game reading compliment his well-built body which is arguably great for neat goalkeeping.
Despite winning a trophy with Express, he sounds heartbroken when reminded of his time with the Red Eagles during the 2021/22 season.
“It is one of my worst seasons. It was really terrible, I had very many injuries. Lots of ups and downs and I missed out on many games and national team call ups.”
Varma, as he is known amongst his peers, models his game on former Uganda Cranes goalkeeper Denis Onyango and Jan Oblak of Spanish giants Atletico Madrid who he says are his role models.
*Credit: BUL FC media