Creative midfielder Ibrahim ‘Owen’ Kasule is back in the Country just two weeks since joining Turkish side Ankara Keciörengücü.
His move to Ankara came as a surprise to many after it was initially reported that he was joining New York Red Bull Salzburg from Wakiso Giants.
Kasule is still leading the league in Assists (with five), and it’s this quality that has made him a hot cake.
But with new developments, his career is set to take a new twist as the midfielder is the centre of a transfer sage involving his parent club Wakiso Giants, New York Red Bull and Ankara.
Former Uganda Cranes captain Ibrahim Ssekagya, now the head coach of New York Red Bull II, contacted Wakiso Giants in search for promising talent.
“Ssekagya called me while in the United States, he was referenced to me by Coach Matia Lule,” Wakiso Giants president Musa Atagenda narrated the story to The-SportsNation.
“He asked me about my project and ambitions, he was impressed and found out that we were on the same page. He said that he wanted to get young talented players so that he can take them to the States. He had a view that if they perform well, they can open doors for more Ugandans out there.
Atagenda said that Ssekagya had eyes already on Titus Ssematimba, before he was told about Kasule.
“Ssekagya came in the Country and he managed to attend two of our training sessions, then he also watched our games against Express.
“After the game, he was also convinced that Kasule is a better player than Ssematimba. However, he said that he was also impressed with our striker Ssebuufu (Frank), and he was taking both of them.”
Wakiso agreed to let the two players leave, at a Zero cost!
Atagenda explained: “My club targets are that you take the players for free but we get an onward commission once the player is sold. Meaning that Wakiso was to get a certain percentage if Red Bull sold the players.”
The Visa Issues
Atagenda says that nothing much could be discussed until the players arrived in the States.
The trick was getting the players Visas to the States.
“When Ssekagya returned to the States, he told me that they need a working visa, and to get that there must be contracts they sign as proof that they already have a job in the States not going to search for one instead.
“So he told me that he will draft dummy contacts – just for Visa purposes. He sent them to us, the players signed and we sent them back.”
For formalities, 15000 dollars was included as transfer fee for Kasule, but Atagenda said that it was a dummy contract.
Ankara Hijacks Deal
It is reported that the player has been on the Ankara radar for a while.
And the deal to Turkey was masterminded by coincidentally Ibrahim Ssekajja who is based in London (not to be confused with the Red Bulls coach).
“When the Ankara deal surfaced, we had to weigh in as a club. Remember, even this new one, no money was involved. But it looked more direct and guaranteed. I personally talked to Kasule about the new offer and the player was also excited saying that he would prefer Europe.
“Truth is that Turkish League is better than MLS, football wise. And the other thing is that Ankara presented better offers than Red Bull.
“As a businessman, I weighed in and opted for Turkish deal as well. So, they sent us the Visas to Turkey, and we went there together with Ssekajja and Kasule at Antaria where the team was camping.
“I met the club president and other Club officials. He was given a 3-and-half year contract. But the foreign slots at the club were already occupied. Given that Kasule’s passport reads 18 years, and the Club decided to register him for the Reserve side.
Kasule was given six months on acclimatization program where he would be put on special diet and program. He would train with the first team but play for the reserve league.
And he played three games with their Under-19.
It is also said that Red Bull was offering Kasule a shorter deal to Ankara’s three-and-half-year contract.
The Fall Out
It is said that when news reached Ssekagya that Kasule had instead signed for Ankara, he wrote to the Turkish side and advised them not to deal with the player because he had a ‘contract’ with them.
He uploaded the dummy contract to Ankara as proof.
“Then Ankara wrote to us for clarification. We told them (Ankara) the truth. They agreed and we continued. Ssekajja even contacted the Federation (FUFA) here on why they issued Kasule an ITC. The Federation told him that the player had no claimant.
“Then he started intimidating the player and how he was going to report to him to FIFA, which would end his career. that he signed for two clubs.
“I personally talked to Ssekagya, and reminded him that whatever we signed was not for transfer of player but for purposes of player acquiring a working Visa to the United States,” Atagenda adds. “And I begged him to leave the kid concentrate on his new team.”
It is said that because they didn’t want to be involved in cheap battles, Ankara was willing to let the player go at the start.
“During our conversations with Ssekagya, he gave me Denis Hamlett (Red Bull Sporting Director) and he told me that they had finalized with Ankara on terminating the player and that Kasule will be back in Uganda before flying out to the United States.
“I said how? I called Kasule and he didn’t pick up. then I texted him and he also said that he had agreed to leave Turkey and go to United States.”
Atagenda immediately contacted Ankara to confirm what he had just been told. Ankara said that they were contacted by Red Bull about the termination however they were insisting that they had no problem with the player as long as Wakiso Giants came to terms with New York.
“Remember Ankara had a standing agreement with Us (Wakiso) not the United States team. Then they told us that if we come to terms with New York, inform us to terminate the contract because we have so many players who want to get an opportunity here so we can’t stick around with a player who doesn’t want to stay with us.”
To Atagenda’s surprise, Last Wednesday evening, Red Bull sent Kasule a ticket, which they copied to Wakiso Giants in an email indicating that the Midfielder would be travelling to Kampala on Thursday (the day Wakiso played KCCA).
The Purple Sharks once again wrote to Ankara to confirm if they were aware of the latest developments, which they denied.
Atagenda added: “Ankara said that as far as they were concerned, they had not allowed Kasule to leave Turkey because he was still their player and contracted.”
Kasule landed at Entebbe Airport on Friday morning!
The midfielder had left Turkey minus the consent of both Ankara and Wakiso Giants!
“Ankara told me Kasule has not attended their training session and they got to know that he had left the country through their emigration department.”
“I called Kasule and I asked him If he had the Termination Letter with him, but he said that he had only signed on some documents in the office. When we asked Ankara about the signed of document, the club said that he had signed on Licensing documents not termination letter.
It turns out that Ankara had even forwarded the licensing letter to their Turkish Federation.
And the bottom line remains that the Midfielder is registered with Ankara, and If he is to join Red Bull, they have to pay the Turkish club!
It’s believed that Kasule will soon be flying out to Red Bull in the United States.
“Ssekagya is still persuading the Turkish club to terminate, but that termination means that Wakiso will loose out because we have an agreement with Ankara,” Ataganda added.
Ankara are going legal because they feel disrespected by Red Bull in the manner they have handled the situation through sending a ticket to their player without their knowledge.
They believe that they acquired the player legally through the FUFA and FIFA system. And they insist that If New York wants the player, they should pay.
“On our side, once Ankara terminates without our consent we are also going legal. It must be us to first initiate the termination.”