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Jackson Nunda: a special career that never clearly erupted

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Jackson Nunda - KCCA FC - The Touchline Sports

Destiny has many faces, and Jackson Nunda’s seams rather unfathomable. Very is beautiful on the outside but hideous on the inside taking into account the immense talent bestowed unto him but yet negligible to show.

He is by all means a player very assertive in transition and one that holds onto the ball more often than not. The midfielder-whom many had grown accustomed to watching timing his runs to perfection in the final third of the pitch, was generally expected to be the fulcrum at KCCA FC.

As cliché as this might sound, however, Nunda appears to have fallen out of favor at Lugogo thereby provoking the club into a drastic decision of not renewing his contract.

How then does a player of his stature find himself in this unprecedented state of the quagmire?

Jackson Nunda - KCCA FC - The Touchline Sports

Jackson Nunda during his early days at KCCA FC | Courtesy photo

To answer the question, let’s trace back to where it all started.

KCCA FC conundrum

During the early 2000s, KCCA FC had experienced a 10-year championship drought before hiring George Best Nsimbe in 2012 whose era provided the 2013-2014 title shrugging off stiff competition from Victoria University FC with just a mere point.

The success would see him depart the club for greener pastures and along came Abdullah Mubiru, a decision that served to bring back failed expectations in terms of both trophies and style. More than ever, the club sought a return to their artistic routes.

Quest for a redemption

Lugogo, the unassuming Nakawa neighborhood wherein 2015, many felt the beautiful game was reborn. When KCCA’s finest team in the post-Omondi era appeared under the stewardship of Mike Hillary Mutebi, where fantasy overcame pragmatism.

With the project underway, Mike set off to recruit players to complement his offensively oriented philosophy. Amongst which Nunda was at the forefront. Acquired from SC Villa at only 23, Jackson fitted all qualities of age and skill.

He was by no means a disappointment on his debut and the games that followed, operating with Muzamiru Mutyaba and Juma Sadam as creative minds at the front. Not muscular but praised a lot for his fenence. The fans went crazy for him.

Jackson Nunda

Jackson Nunda scored one of the best goals in the Uganda Premier League for KCCA FC against Onduparaka in 2017 at the StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo | Courtesy photo – Watch the video here

With those three stellar names in midfield combining to form the heartbeat of Mike’s side, the results came easily enough as did the style & swagger. There was simply just a romantic atmosphere for them. Everyone, KCCA fan or not, were fascinated to witness the beautiful game being played the way it should.

One of his standout performances was during their 2018 CAF Champions’ League Group stage game against Esperance Sportive De Tunis in Tunisia. Nunda expressed magnificent football brains when he pressed and moved intelligently down the left during a marvelous goal-scoring performance. His
goal and hand in the second however didn’t stop KCCA losing the match 3-2.

Many however remember the goal against Onduparaka in 2017 as if it was yesterday, special as he effortlessly-dribbled past the entire Onduparaka FC defense plus the goalkeeper, before slotting the ball into an empty net at Lugogo.

»Related: Livingstone Mbabazi: Football’s turbulent nomad

What went wrong?

Jackson Nunda - KCCA FC vs Township Rollers

Jackson Nunda looks dejected after conceding against Botswana’s Township Rollers in the CAF Champions League in 2018 | Courtesy photo

There are, broadly speaking, three competing schools of thought when it comes to explaining one of Ugandan football’s special talent’s career path.

The majority view is that this maestro was undone by injuries — that the grueling series of muscle strains he sustained at KCCA chip-chip-chipped away at the edifice of his talent before he had the chance to properly sculpt it.

Some will tell you he didn’t want it enough — that he lacked that flame and adrenaline that burns deep inside the chests of the true greats, lending that dash of urgency to everything they do.

Those who know him paint a portrait of a well-rounded human being who is content with his place in the world. Perhaps, faced with a choice between hard-won immortality and the good life, he just chose the latter.

Others will insist he wasn’t all that good and was yet another hype that couldn’t leave with the pressure that comes with the yellow shirt and the expectations weighing on the shoulders. He lacked the sportsmanship gusto.

The most authentic of them all however has to be the injuries. As flamboyant a gesture as this might sound, just simply take away the injuries and Jackson is still donning the yellow shirt of KCCA FC.

KCCA FC vs SC Villa

Jackson Nunda vies for the ball with SC Villa’s Henry Katongole at the Nakivubo War Memorial stadium | Courtesy photo

In essence, not many footballers have an entire section of their Wikipedia page dedicated to their various spells on the sidelines. Nunda does.

Unfortunately enough, many have gone ahead to assess his career in a rather nonchalantly manner. Laboring him a player synonymous with mediocrity.

He will however be departing Lugogo with his head held high. Three League titles, two Uganda Cups, one FUFA Super 8 crown, and a CECAFA Club cup sounds pretty good to have.

With all the current speculation about his next destination, it remains unclear where he restarts that much anticipated new chapter. Rumour however has it that URA FC seems his most likely destination.

Whatsoever his next destination may be, I for one remain expectant of a spirited return to his very best. The joy and fan he provides on the pitch are a fascinating thought to cherish by any fun until we can watch him again.

He may not have played much at KCCA but he caught the essence of the game. He captured the artistry and joy. He danced to his own beat in that yellow shirt and enthralled an entire generation.


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