By Denis West
SC Villa’s nine-goal hero Bashir Mutanda has revealed that inspiration from Simba and Uganda Cranes striker Emma Okwi plus coach Douglas Bamweyana’s changed tactics are behind his prolific goal scoring form.
The double footed forward arrived at Villa Park in September on a plea from then coach Moses Basena and has been in stunning form for the Jogoos, scoring nine goals in 12 matches as they climbed from the league table basement to 12th.
Mutanda, rejected at Vipers for being ‘too soft’, has now shifted goal posts, aiming at the top scorer’s boot from the 12-goal target he had set.
“I can score more goals now that the team has started to win. I want to score more than 12 goals.” He admits that a change in the team’s style of play, particularly under Bamweyana, has gifted him more chances to penetrate defences.
“The system (Bamweyana adores 3-5-2) now favours me. I play with either Pius Wangi or Charles Lwanga near me which confuses defenders,” he told Galaxy FM website on Friday.
His brace against Express last week at Namboole provides testimony to his narration. In the first goal, he superbly controlled the ball with the defenders still imagining his next move before he released a ferocious shot while his second, he met Derrick Ndahiro’s cut-back pass with composure and finished off with calmness.
He continues to learn from Okwi whenever they are training together at Katale-Mashariki grounds. “I’m a Villa fan and I admire Okwi. I learn a lot from him and I want to do most of the things he did for Villa and may be the national team.”
Okwi netted 25 goals for Villa in 40 matches in his first two-year spell while in his home coming; he netted 10 goals in 13 matches. He credits youth coach Ronald Ssali who plucked him from obscurity in Busunju College and incorporated him into the Kitende academy and Jinja SSS coach Charles Ayeikho, who gave him temporary refuge when Vipers jettisoned early this year.
On Thursday, Mutanda was awarded at the Real Star Sports Awards event as the best football player in November – beating off stern competition from URA goalkeeper James Alitho and Police forward Juma Balinya.
“It has been down to teamwork, hard-work and personal management, I call upon all my teammates and other footballers to follow the same,” Mutanda revealed.