Uganda Cranes and St. George football club goalkeeper, Robert Odongkara has dedicated the goalkeeper of the year award in the Ethiopian league to his late father, Jimmy Achaye.
The well built and lanky goalkeeper on Wednesday won his fifth successive accolade as the best goalie in the Ethiopian premier league.
On the same day, the 1935 founded club claimed their 28th national league title.
There is no other person i will dedicate the award than my father and possibly Brian Umony who was injured on duty.
Odongkara’s father passed on in February 2008 at a time he was still playing for Sports Club Villa Jogoo.
Since then, he has been the sole bread winner for the family taking care of his five siblings Beatrice Atim, Christine Akello, Sandra Aber, Dennis Okot and Emma Ochitti.
A former volleyballer, Odongkara switched to football after being persuaded by two local coaches in Entebbe – Simon Male and Ibrahim Busaggwa who coached Mupero Tanda and Club Sportive respectively.
He had his elementary education at Murchison Bay Primary school (Luzira in Kampala), completing the Primary Leaving Examinations at Rev. John Kitintale Primary School.
His secondary school journey was perhaps more complicated as he had to study from three different schools and districts: Sir Samuel Baker (Gulu) and Town College (Kitgum) for his Ordinary Level Certificate before transferring to Entebbe based Entebbe Parents in Wakiso District for the Advanced Level (A-Level).
“After A-level, dad had no money for further education. I played Masaza football with Mawogola (in 2008) for a living then. Its from there that I was spotted by Coach Tamale Pinto to go to S.C Villa,” recollects Odongkara of his trend to success.
Odongkara’s transfer to SC Villa was ‘handsomely’ paid with a U.shs 2M sign on package and since joining the Nsambya based side, the rest is now history.
At SC Villa, he played second fiddle to Sulait Luyima for two complete seasons before he was given the opportunity, a chance that embraced with open hands.
A season later, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) came calling and captured him.
Since moving to Ethiopia from URA in 2012, he quickly acclimatized to the setting in a record time.
Getting used to my teammates, weather, food and learning Amharic quickly was a great advantage.
I salute my coaches and fellow players for the helping me
The roller coaster journey of Odongkara has been a challenging trend; though he is set to reach even greater professional heights with prospects of joining the European scene
ODONGKARA’S CAREER AT A GLANCE:
Northern Elephants F.C (Kitgum) – 2002/3
Mupero Tanda F.C (Entebbe) – 2004/6
Club Sportive (Entebbe) – 2007
S.C Villa (Kampala) – 2008/10
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) – 2011
St George (Ethiopia)- 2012 – Todate