When Tooro United FC head coach Wasswa Bbosa was given a two-match suspension for his sending off in the loss to Vipers SC earlier this season, many did not know who would deputize him.
With the media in the dark on who Bbosa’s assistant was, up stepped a certain Eric Ndifuna.
Ndifuna was in charge of the next two games, all ending in narrow defeats.
As fate would have it, Bbosa lost a relative before his come-back game away to URA FC, meaning that Ndifuna would once again lead the side.
At the end of the final whistle, he had won his first-ever game in the Uganda Premier League as Tooro United defeated the Tax Collectors 2-1 at the Mandela National Stadium in Namboole.
After that game, Ndifuna is now recognized in the football circles unlike before.
But who is he and how did he become the assistant coach at Tooro United?
PML Daily sat down with Eric Ndifuna.
Who is Coach Eric Ndifuna
Eric Ndifuna is a football coach who is the current assistant to Wasswa Bbosa at Tooro United.
Despite playing since I could walk, my serious career started with Sharing Youth Center-Nsambya.
It is a team that holds a special place in my heart because I owe a lot to them for giving me a chance to kick-start my football career. It was not an easy time at Sharing as we lucked finances but somehow managed to keep on our feet.
At Sharing, I played alongside Denis Onyango who was then my junior. He was a striker but turned him into a keeper after playing him in between the sticks in a particular game that saw our custodian injured. I never knew that he would reach such heights but I am privileged to have seen him start his journey.
Other teams played for
I was not so lucky in my playing days as I never played in the top tier, moving from one Super-Mini (Big League) club to another.
After leaving Sharing, I had brief stints at Baza Holdings under Coach Kefa Kisal. Then I moved to Iganga Town Council, Nsambya United and finally Kayunga United.
Return to Sharing
After finishing my playing career, Sharing asked me to return as a coach. In my first season-2009 in which I was acting as the trainer, we were promoted to the Super League (UPL).
Despite my being a trainer, I was very happy about the achievement although it did not last long because we were relegated after only one season.
In that one year in the top flight, I learned a lot of things and found out that there are players meant to play in the top flight and those in other Leagues. Our insistence not to acquire new players and rather stick to the old ones led to our relegation.
The first head coaching role
After Sharing was relegated, I was appointed as head coach. I coached the team for two seasons and came close to securing promotion to the top tier in the second year, only to throw away a six-point advantage with just three games to play, letting Water FC take over in first place.
At the end of the second season, I decided to step down.
Coaching career takes further shape
My next stop was Nsambya UTODA after the merger of UTODA and Nsambya United. I was there for one season and after falling out with the top administration, decided to leave.
I then moved to Baza where I brought 7 players including Victor Emanayo and David Bagoole from UTODA. After the first round, I fell out with the owner, decided to go and was replaced by Video Anyau who also did not last long before he was fired.
I then joined City Lads in the regional league where I coached for four seasons. At City Lads, I led them to two Regional League finals but lost both of them.
I also had a brief stint at Simba FC after they were relegated from the Uganda Premier League in 2016 but did not last long.
Coaching Congolese side-Bukavu Dawa
After leaving City lads in 2017, I was approached by Congolese side Bukavu Dawa who gave me a short term deal to help them assemble a team.
They had come to camp in Uganda for a while and told me about their strategies and plans. They wanted to create a team that is at the level of TP Mazembe and asked me to help them get players from Uganda with good quality.
They introduced me to 11 players including John Revita, Joseph Kayongo and Mutanga who had been retained from the previous set up.
I added others from Uganda including; Patrick Ochan, Robert Ssentongo and Vincent Kayizi and after six months, I had assembled a team like they had asked me to.
I handed over to Matia Lule who had been assigned the head coach’s role. I then joined Tooro United where I have been the assistant coach since last season.
I first saw Revita when he was part of the 11 players retained at Bukavu. He is a very good player who can play as both a defensive and attacking midfielder. He is very capable of playing as a number 10, something many coaches do not know.
I am currently still at Tooro United but see myself as a head coach somewhere in the near future.