- The reality. The deal - between Emma Okwi and Simba- has far bigger implications for the player: he is back at a club that eats out of his palm. Additionally, it certainly can’t harm his national team prospects, as he attempts to re-establish himself alongside Farouq Miya and Geoffrey Serunkuma, as Cranes’ attacking trio.
Remember how, during the run in to the Gabon AFCON 2017 finals, we learnt that Emmanuel Okwi hadn’t made the final selection? A lot of column space, this one included, went on record to use Okwi an example of what happened to those who blew their chances, and that at 24 he was completely washed up. Well that didn’t happen, of course. Nor is it about to.
Quite the opposite, in fact. Emmanuel Okwi has since been recalled to the Uganda Cranes and has been part of the regional country-wide tours and the recent international friendly matches against Kenya, Ethiopia and Senegal. He was also part of the Uganda Cranes team that won 1-0 away to Cape Verde in Praia, playing 78 minutes before paving way to eventual goal scorer, Geoffrey Serunkuma.
And then just last week he reset his relations with Tanzania’s Simba FC. There are understandable reasons for this. For Simba FC, such is the love for Okwi that this is the third time in seven years that he is sought out. For Okwi, a Shs110 million sign-on fee and big wages, isn’t a shabby reward for his return to form - that has seen him net 10 goals in 13 matches for SC Villa.
Both parties should not only be pleased with developments, but also recognise that this time, the union had better work. Simba is wiser from experience and mindful of Okwi’ s restlessness, have only tied him down to a very short six-month contract. But they can’t continue to forever dispense tidy sums, to a man who doesn’t appreciate the opportunity. Nor can Okwi afford to transfer from club to club indefinitely. Any realistic self-assessment must surely inform him that age will not afford him the luxury to be whimsical for much longer.
Besides, the deal has far bigger implications for Okwi: he is back at a club that eats out of his palm. Additionally, it certainly can’t harm his national team prospects, as he attempts to re-establish himself alongside Farouq Miya and Geoffrey Serunkuma, as Cranes’ attacking trio.
For Simba FC, a thousand things could go wrong. Just as Okwi abandoned them in 2013 and 2015, hoping that a man who is on record for abandoning a career defining trial at Parma for the flimsy reasons of missing local food, will not relapse, is naïve at best. Simba FC needs a player, not a brat to whose every impulse, they must pander.
So, whatever the motives of either party, this rekindling of relations ought to be milked for what it’s worth. For Okwi mainly, this is the leverage he needs as he attempts to demonstrate that the talent we all know he possess, never deserted him. And with all its complexities, it could yet turn out to be 3rd time lucky - the success story of a relieved Emmanuel Okwi, emboldened by this latest valuation by Simba FC. He isn’t washed up after all. On this, I must admit I was thoroughly wrong.