For Sofapaka’s acrobatic Ugandan goalkeeper Mathias Kigonya, the evocative feelings of facing European opponents for his first time ever when the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) All Stars toured Spain last July will forever remain etched in his memory.
SPL Allstars played two friendlies against Cardoba and Sevilla “B” and it was the latter match which presented Kigonya with an opportunity to show just what stuff he is made of despite letting in a solitary goal that would eventually win the match for the Spanish side
The 22-year old, who alongside Boniface Muchiri of Tusker were the stand-out performers in the team, said the match marked a turning point in his career and, most importantly, he learned vital lessons about the European style of play and how to deal with situations as a glove-man.
“Honestly playing against European opponents is the aspiration of every African player and for me, it was a dream come true. We may have lost both matches but I came to realize that these guys are beatable only what is required of us going forward is confidence,” Kigonya offers.
Kigonya then opens up to what he observed was the strong points of Spanish teams at least from his own experience when he was given the responsibility to man KPL Allstars posts against Sevilla.
“Their (Sevilla) strikers strive so much in the flanks and are full of running. Their fire-power is discernible and if you are taxed to be the goalkeeper, you will definitely need to be on full alert lest you concede many goals from that position,” said Kigonya.
He added:” Our defenders were able to contain Sevilla strikers and in the few occasions they shot from the wings, I was able to perfectly deal with the situations. Hopefully, I should be able to demonstrate those newly acquired skills in the KPL,”.
Born 23 years ago to Francis Muwanga and Suzanne Nabakooza, Kigonya is blessed with special attributes so much so that Kenyan football fans can’t help but wish that he changes nationality to play for the national team Harambee Stars.
But in as much as Kigonya is enjoying his time in Kenya and is willing to change allegiance, that is not possible given the stringent Fifa rules that requires a player to have been resident of his adopted country for at least two years.
Apparently, Kigonya whose role models are his fellow countrymen is barely a year old since joining Sofapaka from Ugandan side Bright Stars which automatically rules him out of the passport change.
To Ugandan fans, Kigonya is best remembered as the all conquering goalkeeper at the 2010 Copa Coca Cola national Championships when he steered Bishop Nankyama School to the title.
It was least surprising when he received a call up to the Ugandan national team, The Cranes, for the 2016 Africa Nations Championships and thereafter the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Name: Mathias Kigonya
DOB: February 2, 1995
- Bishop Nankyama School,
- Jogoo Young,
- SC Villa, Baza Holdings,
- Soana FC,
- Bright Stars,
- Sofapaka FC (current)
Role models: Dennis Onyango, Benjamin Ochan
Favorite food: Fish and Matoke