Ducor Sports Star of the Week
Uganda Cranes secured a 2-0 win over Lesotho in the 2019 African Cup of Nations finals qualification Group L on Tuesday.
Two first half goals by Croatia-based forward Farouk Miya were enough to seal back-to-back victories over the southern African kingdom as Uganda kept intact their unbeaten streak and clean sheet in this campaign.
Despite the Likuenas applying pressure in the second half, in a half-empty Setsoto Stadium located in Lesotho’s capital city, Maseru, the Ugandans stayed put, stamping their authority and riding this one out with relative ease.
Devastated Likuenas supporters were captured on live television crying and consoling each other, from two goals scored by the visitors inside the first 45 minutes of the match.
Uganda had previously beaten Lesotho in the first leg of the match on Saturday in Kampala where they thrashed Likuenas 3-0 at Mandela Stadium in Nambolee.
But in both matches which were watched by millions of fans across Africa, there was a beautiful face that never escaped eyes of the viewers.
Kyazze Khassim, well known to thousands of soccer fans in East Africa, was in Maseru coated with body painting as he led a band of traveling fans, whom at most of the occasions silenced the home crowd.
From the comfort of a sofa set, one could easily tell that the most of the cheering fans love Cranes and some love it more than others – and are always ready to go to daunting heights for it.
Khassim is one of those fanatics who gave his all when cheering the boys in the South African kingdom.
His vuvuzela blowing and cheering skills could only be compared with, Freddie Make, the inventor of the trumpet that came into limelight during the 2010 World Cup that was held in South Africa.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Football is my life. I always give my best when it comes to the national team and that’s why I had to make myself available to travel to Lesotho,”[/perfectpullquote]
said Khassim in an interview on Thursday, hours after his arrival from Maseru.
With Cranes now one point away from making to Cameroon 2019, Africa is assured that whenever the East Africans will be playing in Yaounde, the fan zone will always be a hotbed of vibrancy.
What do we know about Khazze Khassim?
In victory or defeat, Khassim is always behind the team, using his trademark vuvuzela trumpet to inspire other fans to show the same spirit.
The 26-year-old, taxi conductor, unyielding passion for the Uganda national team was ignited way back in his childhood.
Ever since, Khassim can be seen as one of the “godfathers” of the type of stadium atmosphere that’s experienced nowadays during local and international football games played in the country, having followed Cranes since 2013.
He started by painting himself for Cranes games at Nelson Mandela Stadium after realizing that the spectators in the stands needed something different.
Cameras started focusing on him fascinating the TV viewers with his clown-like figure also bringing quite a life to many in the stadium, as the passing of time proved.
But it was not until 2016 that he was first recognized as being the number-one follower when he was honored with an air ticket, courtesy of Ecobank, to go and watch Cranes play at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
In an interview then with Ugandan bi-weekly newspaper, The Observer, Khassim admitted that the trip to Libreville was his first in West Africa and his pockets were not so good, but what mattered is for him to watch Carnes playing.
Khassim was at some point force to depend on other fans, including sleeping on the floor of their rooms, to survive the few days he was in Gabon. He could not have endured that if he had chosen to fly back home, as his schedule was to watch only the game against Ghana.
However, his efforts were recognized during the Uganda versus Egypt game, when Khassim name was sounded out by the stadium announcer at Stade de Port-Gentil as the fan of the match.
He received a beautiful plaque with an inscription reading: Fan-of-the-match (Egypt v Uganda) during which broadcast channels, including SuperSport, focused on him.
According to Khassim, FUFA has sponsored most of his trips and tickets to games in recognition of his efforts. “FUFA and most especially its president Moses Magongo has really been supportive to me.”
As an official supporter, he’s been to more than 10 countries – including Gabon, Kenya, Morocco and Lesotho– and always takes along a vuvuzela, an instrument he loves most, to cheer Cranes on.