I had a one on one interview with a Ugandan Netherlands based professional footballer, Lubowa Abra. He talks about his football carrier right from Uganda to Netherlands, tough moments and achievements in his profession.
Name : Lubowa Abra
Age : 32 years
Height. : 1.58 ft
Kgs : 78
Team : WKE in EMMEN, Netherlands
Who is Lubowa Abra?
I am called Lubowa Abra. I am a Ugandan and a muganda by tribe but I stay in Netherlands.I am not married and don’t have kids but I pray to God one day I will get married and get kids as well.
Where was Lubowa born from?
I was born in Uganda from Mengo hospital and it’s where I grew up from. Unfortunately none of my parents is alive but I thank God because He is providing I can’t complain.
When did you start playing football?
Well, I started playing my football when I was still a young boy because it’s something I loved so much however, I started playing serious football in my primary three at old Kampala primary school. It’s then that I loved football in that I could play with guys who are not my age mates, guys older than me and the passion for the game just kept on developing up to now.
To which school did you go?
I was at Old Kampala primary school. I then joined Buddo SS for my O-level and East high for my A-level. I played with the likes of jaja Walusimbi, Ssula Malunda. I played for the National team U20 with the likes Emmanuel Okwi the current Uganda cranes captain, Steven Bengo, Denis Iguma,Mukisa, Jeremiah who is currently based in the USA.
Which local teams have you played for?
I only played for two teams in Uganda that’s Wembly and Express FC where I signed for only two months.
Sometime back you were summoned on the U20 Uganda national team, the hippos, how did you feel getting that call up?
Yes i was summoned on the U20 national team with the likes of Mike Mutyaba, Denis Iguma who was the team captain, Baba Kizito, Jaja Walusimbi. This is the team that played against the Egypt U20 where we lost 2-1 away and even at home in Nakivumbo, we lost to them unfortunately.
Which club were you playing for before being summoned on the on the U20 national team?
I was called on the U20 national team when I was not playing in the super league the so called Startimes Uganda Premier of late, I was playing for Wembley FC a team in the in the 1st division at that time but now it’s called the Big League but I think my call up was by the Grace of God and my good performance. Then I went to APRS in Rwanda for two months.
What’s your strength and weakness on the field of play?
My strength on pitch is shooting and scoring since I am a striker though many people prefer me on the wing. While my weakness is defending the ball once opponents tend to attack us however I try my best.
After playing at Express FC for the two months, where did you join?
I went to Netherlands for trials in a team called FC EMMEN and by the Grace of God I passed the trials and I stayed in Netherlands where am based right now. I went to Netherlands at the age of 24 and God helped me to face all the challenges to be the man I am today.
How hard was it for you to make it to Netherlands the mere fact you were taken for trials with many footballers abroad?
What I can say, it was not my will but God’s will. I am forever grateful to God and I will always praise and worship His name.
For how long have you stayed in Netherlands and how many clubs have you played for?
Have been in Netherlands for 8 years.
In Netherlands they have Professional, Semi Professional and Amateur football.
For professional I played for one club where I played with the current U22 Netherlands 1st goal keeper, Kjell Scherpen and moved to semi professional where I played For three clubs and now playing with former Ajax star, Hindriks.
How hard was it for you to land this juicy deal in Netherlands?
For me to get this deal in Netherlands I think it came as a blessing from God because someone just called me that they needed a striker and he knew what I was capable of, that’s how I made it and I thank God I didn’t disappoint. I am so thankful to Mr Micheal who gave me the call and the opportunity, it meant a lot to me.
For the 8 years you have stayed in Netherlands and we are still counting, do you plan to have a family there or back at home in Uganda?
I may plan but then God knows more better, but still Netherlands is now home to me so the difference is the similarity.
How different is professional football from local football?
Professional is more being the way you hear the word professional, very organized in everything being done unlike our local football.
What advise would you give to a young Ugandan footballer with a dream of playing professional football?
To put God first in everything, be disciplined, hardworking and determined.
What is your greatest achievement in football?
My greatest achievement in football is that have got friends all the world, buildings and loyalty.
What’s that point where you felt you could never go on with football anymore?
The day my best friend, Waiswa Ibrahim left Uganda for Sweden to play football there as well. It was too hard for me to take it in because we played football, stayed and did everything together.
And secondly, the day I was called to SC Villa and on the last day of signing, they didn’t sign me. I was so much disappointed.
What challenges have you faced in Netherlands it being a foreign country?
Home sick and the language, but now I do speak it fluently.
Do you regret playing football at one point?
NO, I don’t. Football has opened me to the outside world and have gotten a number of opportunities because of football. I thank God for the talent of playing football He blessed me with.
Imagine Lubowa was not playing football, which other game would he play?
Long tennis is my thing and I follow it up.
How does Lubowa spend his free time?
Being at home watching movies and traveling.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I love gospel music so much. It’s that kind of music I listen to and I feel at peace.
What kind of meal do you love eating while at home in Uganda?
I love eating rice, matooke and meat.
Do you have some Ugandan footballer you relate with?
Yes, quite a number of them, there is Denis Iguma, Mato, Achai and Mugwera Yasser all playing for KCCA FC. I always advise and talk to them on many occasions.
Now that your not playing active football, what are you doing in Netherlands of late?
I have a company we started up with a friend called Robert it’s called FEMO.
It’s new, we do scouting and recruiting agency of players all over the world and sell them on market.
Where are the head quarters of FEMO?
FEMO is based in Amsterdam and also we started it here in Uganda and I believe it will be a big one.
What does a parent require to register their children with FEMO soccer academy here in Uganda?
Only registration fee of one hundred thousand shillings (100,000) for the whole season and bring their kids to start training with us at Bayern in Munyonyo.
Alternatively one can visit our website: www.femoscout.com
What is the main goal of this Academy in Uganda?
We want to get more talented boys and girls here to achieve their goals and also have players who can play professional football in Europe like in the English premier league and Netherlands as well, I would love to get Ugandan players there.
In your last words, what advise would you give to a person who looks up to you?
Put God first and everything will be well with your life, be disciplined and hardworking because good things never come easy. Have respect for one another, be you in whatever you do and don’t forget where you came from.
May God bless you all.