History will always cite the likes of Joseph Mabirizi, Charles Masiko, Richard Mugalu among others. Nestroy Kizito and Godfrey Walusimbi have also deputised the left back role perfectly. Uganda has always had that position well covered.
With Derrick Ndahiro, the future has never been more bright.
Ndahiro has great admiration for KCCA FC (now Montreal Impact) star Mustafa Kizza and he is confident that his move to MLS will open doors for the rest.
The tiny Ndahiro started his football career in 2006 with Kick Soccer team in Kamwokya, a crowded Kampala Suburb infamously known high crime rates and unemployment
He was promoted to the senior team which was playing in first Division in Nakawa around 2015 and played for two seasons until 2018 when he came to everyone’s recognition after joining SC Villa.
“I started as a forward, it was once that I had played in the left back in a friendly match,” Ndahiro remembers.
“So, my coach told me that ‘You are good in the Left back position as well’, so he kept playing me there.”
“I wasn’t so comfortable in the position at first and at some time I refused to play, and the coach dropped me. So, in order to be on the pitch, I had no option and I hence decided to play play Left back.”
Growing up at Kamwokya, Ndahiro harboured dreams of playing in the top flight after watching many talented UPL players make cameo appearances in the local tournaments organised in the area.
“I remember I was so young and they brought me to play with those big men. I feared and a lot and I played for some good minutes while bare footed,” he added.
Ndahiro says that his mother never wanted him to play football but just like any stubborn kid, he could passionately sneak out.
On his pint size, Ndahiro says that he has always played to prove all doubters wrong because they constantly told him that he will never make it with his small size.
“Despite all the critics, I had passion for the game and I never gave up. I kept praying to God.”
Kamwokya has produced some good players like Kabugo Savio, Sula Matovu, Bukenya Ivan, Buteera Andrew, Matovu Farouk, Zakaria Lubega, Jackson Nunda, Owinyi Allan and Lukoya Baker etc.
“During my time there, we had a number of good coaches like coach Michael, Coach Mambo, Coach Kasule, Coach Kizito, Coach Joshua among others.”
Joining SC Villa, Ndahiro through the routine trials held at Villa Park before the start of every new season.
“This time, the trials were held at IUIU in Kabojja,” Ndahiro narrates.
Ndahiro got to know of the SC Villa trials through Francisco Bwambale who was the team manager at Kamwokya.
“So I went for the trials, the first day we were few but the following day players were so many,” he narrates.
“We kept on training because everyday they had to cut off players. But I was so determined and hardworking. I was lucky because good players were so many but I was included in every list.”
The former Kasawo SS student went on to impress then SC Villa coach Moses Basena before he was officially signed.
“I felt so good when I signed for SC Villa because it’s one of the most successful clubs in Uganda,” the left back adds. “I was like – This is a big chance and new challenge for me.”
He made his competitive debut for Villa against URA FC in October 2018 in the FUFA Super Cup and has since never looked back including a player of the match performance against rivals Villa.
Fast forward, he was summoned to the National team after the selection committee confirmed that he was not going to represent the Amavubi Stars.
Earlier this year, the youngster was included in the 34-man provisional squad by Cranes coach Jonathan Mckinstry ahead of CHAN tourney in Cameroon.
With the departure of Mustafa Kizza to MLS, Ndahiro is a strong contender and favourite to occupy left back position ahead of Ashraf Mandela.
“Kizza’s departure doesn’t mean I should relax because there are many good left backs in Uganda, so I have to double my efforts in order to be the first choice,” he adds.
“My targets have not changed since I started playing football. I want to be the best, and I know to be on top you have to be determined, hard working and have passion in whatever your doing, lastly God is everything and believing in yourself.”