For anyone that has familiarized with Ugandan football for the last decade or so, the name Micheal Birungi must have surfaced more often than not.
A reserved, tight-lipped and nice looking enigma who easily comes off as an introvert of sorts. One that gives nothing away but leaves a lot to imagination.
A special talent right from his time of inception to the game and one who many grew accustomed to watching timing his offensive runs to perfection especially when operated on the flanks.
His story is one with a description of “up a mountain climb and back” putting in mind the sojourns he has experienced across various clubs both in Uganda and beyond with the biggest highlights being KCCA, Express and Police FC.
The Uganda Premier League champion with KCCA FC in 2013 is currently a free agent following the expiration of his contract at URA FC, an adventure he joined in 2018 with veteran tactician Sam Simbwa.
A SportsNation correspondent sat down with him for a simple chat.
SportsNation: Birungi, take me through your family background?
Birungi: Well I am from a humble background. My parents are staunch catholics and that explains why I spent the greater part of both my primary and secondary education in seminary schools. We are not so big a family but i love my siblings a lot.
SportsNation: What are your childhood memories?
Birungi: Childhood memories were of playing football without boots (giggles).
SportsNation: How did you start playing football?
Birungi: Well, (takes some time to remember..) ahh. It was actually in primary school, we used to play the interclass competition games. That’s where the story starts.
SportsNation: What schools did you attend?
Birungi: My nursery was at St. Kizito Nursery Nsambya, i then joined St. Peter’s Primary School Nsambya before joining Nswanjere Junior Seminary where I finished my primary education. Secondary took me to Kisubi Minor Seminary before joining St. Maria Goretti Katende for HSC.
SportsNation: Take me through your football career (clubs you have played for).
Birungi: I have played for a maximum of six clubs so far. These are Kampala Utoda FC where i begun my journey, KCCA FC, Khartoum FC, Police FC, Express FC and most recently URA FC.
SportsNation: What is your best and worst moment as a footballer?
Birungi: My best memory has to definitely be winning the Uganda Premier League title with KCCA FC during the 2013 season. Nothing can match that.
The worst moment has to be engaging in the relegation dog-fight while at Express FC in 2018. It was my low point as a player and it wasn’t easy to motivate the team.
SportsNation: Which people do you thank for your football career?
Birungi: There are a host of coaches that I thank for my career but allow me to mention only four because if I were to mention them all, it might take me an entire day. Coach Ahmed Nyenje (claud) has been instrumental to my career along with Maria Kyle, George Best Nsimbe and coach Douglas Bamweyana.
SportsNation: Who did you look up to while growing up as a buzzing footballer?
Birungi: Honestly, I did not look up to anybody. All I remember wanting to be was the best version of myself and probably inspire someone else.
SportsNation: Who is the best player you have played with and why?
Birungi: Timothy Dennis Awany. A great commander at the back.
SportsNation: Who is the hardest opponent you have faced?
Birungi: Erasto Nyoni from Tanzania. The guy was a rock at the defense.
SportsNation: Who is the best coach you have been under?
Birungi: That’s quite tricky but I will go with coach James Kwesi Appiah.
SportsNation: What are your targets next season and coming seasons ahead?
Birungi: It has to start with getting a club and while there, the target will definitely be keeping fit and getting more playing time and form.