Volleyball: Up-close With UAE-Based Kathbert Malinga

Uganda’s Volleyball star Kathbert Malinga who plies his trade in United Arab Emirates has opened up about his career.

His sports journey saw him play football and handball before dumping them to fully concentrate on Volleyball.

In his early days, the lanky power attacker was offered a bursary to play handball but he was advised against the offer by his dad.

Malinga’s strong jumps and take-offs in Handball enabled him to achieve a seamless transformation to Volleyball, a sport that gave him freedom because it was non contact unlike Football and Handball.

Kathbert Malinga (left) in UAE league. Courtesy photo

“I started playing Volleyball in Bombo for UPDF VC before St Mary’s SS Kitende scouted me on a bursary around May 2012,” Malinga discloses to The-SportsNation.

“During my childhood in Bombo, we used to play only Football and Handball, but it wasn’t an easy decision for me to dump them because I loved Football a lot.”

“I didn’t choose Volleyball but it was the chance that came to me first so I grabbed it” says Malinga.

Malinga was born on April 30, 1996 in Amuria to Joseph Ojak and Jane Akello.

He attended Bombo Barracks Primary School, Bombo Army SS, St Mary’s Kitende and Nkumba University.

His Volleyball career started with UPDF VC in 2012, he later moved to St Mary’s for a bursary before joining Nkumba VC in 2014.

“I was persuaded by the UPDF Volleyball players like Okot, Mungoda, Shafik and Waiswa then Coach Tom.”

He moved to Sky VC in 2016 and a year later, he secured a deal to join Marek Union Ivkoni VC in Bulgaria.

He also played for Afyon Karahiser Belediyes in Turkey before moving to his current club in 2019 in Al Jazira VC in UAE

“I managed to go professional after I was scouted by an agent who proposed me to all these clubs” Malinga on how he secured his deals abroad.

“The game here (UAE) is better than Ugandan Volleyball leagues in different ways like the facilities for both training and games and the level of competition in UAE is higher.”

His first game in Bulgaria was quarter final in a domestic cup on the road.

“I started on the bench,” Malinga remembers. “The stadium was full to capacity with home fans, I was nervous, there was tension and pressure for me because of the expectations from me.”

“But I got encouraged by my fellow players when I came on. It was a strange and good experience, though we never won the game.”

The Amuria-born says that his role model is Polish-Cuban star Wilfredo Leon.



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