By Alex Bossa
Ranked among the top countries that have produced the best left backs on the African continent, the argument for who is the best left back the country has ever produced will continue since there is a generational gap between the players. Recent trends have seen the likes of Mustafa Kizza and Isaac Muleme come to the national fold.
The fact that the likes of Joseph Ochaya, Abubakar Tabula, Charles Katumba, Joseph Onziga and Sam Musenze can only make the list of honorable mentions shows how the nation has been blessed at the left back side.
5th Position – Nestroy Kizito
Although he never played at the African Cup of Nations final tournament, Kizito is seen as one of the best left backs the country has ever produced in the new millenium. Nestroy Kizito had mastered the art of overlap and along with David Obua, they formed a partnership on the left wing for the Uganda Cranes which was a nightmare for many national teams.
He became the first Ugandan to play in the UEFA Champions League when he played a full 90 minutes for Partizan Belgrade in a 1-0 away win against Armenian side Pyunik in the 2010-2011 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round.
Capped 39 times by the Uganda Cranes, Kizito made the left flank his own for over a decade where he represented Uganda from 2001 to 2012. The versatile defender was part of the all-conquering SC Villa side of the early 2000s that won four consecutive league titles and the Kagame cup in 2003. His ability to move the team forward during the attacks also won him the fans player of the year at Serbian club Vojvodina in the 2005-2006 where he had put in a series of consistent performances.
4th Position – Charles Masiko
Known for being a nightmare for his opponents during his overlaps that in most cases turned into goals, Charles Masiko was good at free kicks, creating and scoring goals for both his club KCC and the national team.
Technically, he had a good knowledge of the game and better at play management where he was reliable in both during aerial balls and counter attacks.
Masiko made his debut for the senior national team the Cranes in a 2-1 third place playoff win against Malawi in 1983. He won the league three times and the Uganda Cup four times with KCC. He made headlines in 1991 when he captained both KCC and Ngeye clan to league title and Bika bya Baganda football tournament title respectively.
3rd Position – Geoffrey Higenyi
Brother to Paul Hasule, Geoffrey Higenyi was a hard tackler who preferred to clear the ball away from his goal mouth. His pace enabled him to put opponents away and he is well remembered for the long throw-ins.
Just like former Stoke City midfielder Rory Delap, his throw-ins appeared like corner kicks. He was so hardworking and had mastered the art of long diagonal passes which occasionally aimed at the intended recipient.
He won seven league titles and four Uganda Cup titles with SC Villa and he was part of the SC Villa team that reached the finals of the African Club Championships in 1991 where he played in all the matches.
His debut match for the Uganda Cranes saw him help the national team defeat Algeria 4-1 in the Olympic qualifier at Nakivubo in 1983. His triumph with the national team came in 1987 where he played a vital role for the Cranes in winning the Senior Challenge Cup.
2nd Position – Geoffrey Walusimbi
“Jaja Walu” as he is commonly known holds a unique record in the national team history as the only player to reach a century of caps for Uganda. His 105 cups for Uganda rank him the most capped footballer in Uganda.
Geofrey Walusimbi built his game on pace, creativity and overlap. He was both good in attack and defense and when he made his national team debut on 4th September 2010 as a substitute for the injured Nestroy Kizito against Angola in the 2012 AFCON qualifiers, every one believed that the nation had got a true heir to the ageing Kizito.
He went ahead to represent the country at both the 2017 and 2019 AFCON final tournaments. His club career saw him play for SC Villa, Bunamwaya, Don Bosco, Gor Mahia, Kaizer Chiefs and Vllaznia.
1st Position – Ashe “Lord” Mukasa
Arguably the best left back the country has ever produced, Mukasa who could also be utilized in midfield was a steady defender who preferred to push forward during attacks. His style of play and leadership led to him being named the captain for the national youth team that went on to win the regional championship in Kenya in 1972.
His debut match saw him score a brace in a 5-0 win against Somalia but it was in 1973 where he made headlines against Algeria in the African Cup of Nations qualifier at Nakivubo where he scored in the 2-1 win.
At the 1976 African cup of Nations in Ethiopia, Mukasa was the only Ugandan player to make it to the team of the tournament. His performances inspired the Cranes to the 1973, 1976 and 1977 CECAFA titles.
At club level, Mukasa won back-to-back league titles with Express in 1974 and 1975 and the CECAFA club championship with KCC in 1978, the club he joined after Express was banned in 1977.