Ugandan-bred Italian-based forward Innocent Media will represent the South Sudanese Senior Men’s football team in the forthcoming national side’s international engagements.
The West Nile starlet is part of the Bright Stars contingent in Mali ahead of the country’s last group B AFCON qualification match. They will later face Kenya in a FIFA International friendly match in Nairobi.
Now plying his trade with Itlian third division club, Lucera Calcio, this will be the very first time that Media will be playing for the senior national team, having previously featured for the South Sudan U20 and U23 sides.
The player is so elated to represent South Sudan. “Long live South Sudan,” Media posted on his social media handles, following his maiden call-up to the Senior Men’s national team.
Born in Koboko district to Ugandan parents, Media has strictly attended only Ugandan schools; from St Mark Primary school in Koboko to Koboko Parents S.S, from Sentah College in Mbarara, to captaining Buddo S.S where he completed his secondary education.
Before crossing to the Italian side, the striker had only played for Ugandan clubs including Koboko Rising Stars, Nyamityobora U-17 team and Arua Hill Sports Club in the Uganda Premier League.
Considering all that rich Ugandan history and attachment, one easily thinks Media could’ve easily been snapped up by Uganda. Offcourse, the Cranes have missed a trick by allowing the youthful player through the net.
Given the 21 year old’s scoring abilities, he has got a big footballing future ahead of him, he was one of Arua Hill’s brightest young prospects, alongside Rashid Kawawa, Reagan Mpande and Jacob Kamwesiga.
Media’s exceptional positional sense, anticipation, quick reaction and natural finishing instincts saw him score nine league goals to guide the Leopards to an impressive fourth place finish with 44 points from 28 games. He had scored four the previous season, having had to balance football with school engagements.
Such Media’s fine form attracted the keen eye of domestic and foreign based scouts and agents with offers for a number of clubs in Uganda and CECAFA region, but he ended up in Europe.
However, it’s not like Uganda didn’t do anything to get hold of the player, maybe they just didn’t do enough, but atleast they approached the player on the possibility of playing for the Cranes.
According to sources close to the player, Media has more than once been approached by officials from FUFA to play for the Cranes at the senior level, and his decision to chose to represent neighbors over his country of origin is one deeply thought before consideration.
Media now joins the ever growing list of players with a very strong Ugandan attachment who have shifted their allegiance to South Sudan.
The list most notably includes Tito Okello, Rashid Toha, Geriga Atendele, Joseph Dhata, Ivan Wani and Ezra Bida amongst other players.
Other players from the Westnile Ugandan region are expected to follow suit.