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Barely had my bleached white hairy big toes touched African soil that we had a game on. Flying out of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Uganda was breathtaking; a vast desert landscape from another planet.

2 hours later and I’d landed in lush green Uganda. My host Bruno k Kato, who was only 20, ran the guesthouse and was clear leader of his posse - some friends some guests, who were gathered in reception on my arrival, watching Premier League footy ! After a quick chat we arranged to meet for a kick-a-bout in the guesthouse compound the day after. Jamalad, security chap Moses ( who looked frightened to death) and I took on Bruno and his mate, 20 year old star player Izrael Abaho. Moses went in nets and, although for a security chap he couldn’t stop a ball let alone an armed robber, he is such a great, chilled smiling chap that no-one cared. This just about sums up every Ugandan I’ve met so far too ...naturally friendly folk. Jamalad, a Ugandan now living in Dubai, was on fire for us, quickly taking us into a 3-0 lead.

The brilliant Izrael for them was as a joy to watch. A quick, intelligent, natural athlete with fantastic close ball control, he hungered for the ball but played with a smile on his face .He was another in a long line of chaps I’d met on my travels who would be signed up for a professional club, but sadly will never be given or be able to afford the opportunity. Bruno was a decent player, and he and Izrael combined well to pull a goal back . There was no stopping Jamalad though, striking for goal whenever he got chance . The game finished 8-4 to us. A good laugh all the way through, the game was played in a fantastic spirit and, once again, I’ve been absolutely humbled by the welcome I’ve recieved . In my jet-lagged state this was the perfect start to the African leg of the journey😄👍❤️

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