Ugandan Sserunkuma is Kenya's best player

Ugandan Gor Mahia striker Dan Sserunkuma (right) receives Tusker Premier League Player of the Year trophy from Sports and Youths Affairs minister Kabando wa Kabando on November 21, 2012 at the Nairobi Safari Park Hotel.   CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

His looks may be deceiving, his size too, but the Ugandan stands tall above Kenyan footballers. Dan Sserunkuma has been crowned Kenya’s best player.

So tiny is Sserunkuma that the trophy he was awarded was nearly half his height. But there is no denying that the 22-year-old Gor Mahia striker deserved the accolade.

He is also quite shy, but what he cannot say with his mouth, he does with his feet. He has taken Kenyan football by storm, scoring almost at will.

His prowess saw Gor Mahia come within one point of winning the 2012 Kenyan Premier League title.

And when Sports assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando called out his name during the awards gala at the Safari Park Hotel on Wednesday night, he got a standing ovation.

He had become the first foreign player to be named most valuable player (MVP) in Kenyan football.

“It’s my happiest moment. I never believed I would reach this level in my career,” he said. “I dedicate this to all the people who have helped me grow as a footballer to this point.”

The sight of Sserunkuma with the ball has constantly sent chills down the spines of many a defender and goalkeeper in the Kenyan league.

Ask Muhoroni Youth goalkeeper Josek Gituma who found three shots from Sserunkuma too hot to handle, or AFC Leopards’ Patrick Matasi, who picked the ball twice from the net.

“He is lethal and difficult to mark,” said Tusker FC defender Jockins Atudo. Those who coach him say he is achieving all this because of his discipline.

Moved to rivals

“He is always the first in training. He is keen to learn,” says Gor Mahia assistant coach John Bobby Ogolla.

“This boy will go places. We are yet to see the best from him.”

The third-born in a family of four, joined Friends of Football Academy in Uganda at the age of 10. He says he was inspired by Ugandan legend, the late Majid Musisi, who many Ugandans regard as the country’s best football player of all time.

Sserunkuma started playing professional football at Ugandan team Express in 2008, and after one year moved to rivals Victors FC, where he stayed for two years.

The Tusker Premier League side, Nairobi City Stars, signed him up early last year.

“I had heard about Harambee Stars and top clubs. I knew little about City Stars, but they are the ones who were to bring me to Kenya,” said Sserunkuma.

At City Stars Serenkuma was rarely in the news for any wrong reasons. Even when the club had financial problems, he never publicly demanded pay.

He could have joined Gor Mahia in January, but the club was not aggressive enough to sign him.

“I wanted to play for a big club like Gor Mahia or AFC Leopards, but as long as nobody came for me, I was with City Stars.”

Gor Mahia finally knocked at his door in June. He had already scored five goals for City Stars, including one against Gor Mahia in the league.

Immediately, he made an impact at Gor, scoring on his debut for the club.

He went on to score for the 12th time in Kenyan champions, but eventually missed the golden boot award by a single goal.

With the MVP award in his cabinet, Sserunkuma says he is eyeing even bigger things — winning the league title next season.

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