The Story of Baker Lukooya’s Rise to Stardom
The rise of Uganda’s Baker Lukooya to stardom.
From humble beginnings to being lauded as one of the finest left wingers in East Africa, the rise of Baker Lukooya has been a remarkable success story.
Born in 22nd December 1996 and bred in Kamwokya, in the outskirts of Kampala in a family of five, Lukooya did not have the same start like many other footballers.
His mother, Winfred Nabukenya, had to confiscate items from his feet as soon as Lukooya could walk.
“She told me that anything that would fall from the table, whether it was a bottle of water or an orange, I would dribble with it,” he says, his words punctuated with laughter.
“Whatever was on the floor that I could kick, I would entertain myself with it. No matter where she would take me, I would do this.”
His father Hajji Abdul Lukooya, believes his son’s destiny was decided even before then.
“My Dad told me as a baby I loved the ball — to look at it and touch it. I always wanted it around me.”
At 10, the dynamo was already spotted by local scouts who advised his parents to make him participate in different local age group tournaments in Kampala.
“My mum played a major role in developing me into a player that I am today. He gave me Christopher Bangolee as my mentor who gave me an opportunity to play in communal tournaments and regional based tournaments such as Zitel U10 tournament, U14 City Tyres, and many others,”
Lukooya’s career gained momentum at Kamwokya United and ever since that time, he has never looked back and has kept going with hard work, discipline, and determination to see the future he never believed he could live to see.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “I didn’t grow up in an academy, everything I knew was from the street, but I was determined to train hard.” [/perfectpullquote]
Having cemented a place in the team, Bakerazy, as he is known to his peers, was a cog in his team’s midfield before he was poached by Kiira Young where he stayed for three seasons.
His name was now among the football circles with clubs seeking for his signature after helping the small club-tagged side to get a promotion to FUFA’s Big League.
George Semogerere, Kiira Young’s coach at the time, aptly exclaimed that his side possessed a “12th player” because “Baker is like two, this boy is incomprehensible.”
He can tackle, take on defenders, intercept, switch the play, transition quickly, dissect or nullify the opposition, dictate his side’s tempo – a unique, valuable combination.
Express FC was the first Uganda Premier League club to rank Lukooya’s potential higher than his rawness, but they were unable to recruit him in 2015 as they were on the ‘brink of bankruptcy.’
However, in the 2016 summer, the then 21-year old youngster was recommended by a Kampala Capital City Football Club scout. This was his major turnaround and what followed would be an inspirational story of a man, built around hard work and trust in Allah. He then joined another Uganda Premier League side Bright Stars and kickstarted a successful journey.
“2016 was a very good year for me. From being in lower league to the Uganda Premier League and being a key member of Bright Stars was just beyond my dreams considering the talent that was at disposal,” Baker notes.
The left-footer, who is known for his special abilities to beat the very next opponent with the ease of a heavy object freely bowing to gravitational forces, is most remembered for the incredible wonder overhead kick in their win over BUL at the Champions Stadium.
“At first, it wasn’t starting and it was frustrating,” Lukooya reveals. “I did not like it and it made settling in during that period harder, but finally I adapted.”
His work ethic was top of the world and it was clear that he could not stay at Bright Stars for long. Soana snapped him, but he was there for only six months.
“Though I did not stay for long Soana improved me as a player and I learnt so much from there. I got a really tactical education.”
His indisputable talent sent him for trials with Kenyan giants, AFC Leopards where he is currently plying his trade.
“It has been an amazing experience so far in the Kenyan Premier League which has been my home for the past nine months now. AFC fans make me feel at home.”
From being the one to watch in the Uganda Premier League two seasons ago, Lukooya is now seemingly the one to target which signifies swelling status and how significant the opposition believe him to be.
But his influence with Kenyan Premier League giants, Ingwe is unlikely to be tempered anytime soon.
“I want to help my club reach its goals domestically and on the continent. This is just the start for me,” Lukooya says, with a knowing smile. “I have come this far; I am also not giving up on my dream of playing in Europe yet and lastly what is the point of not representing my country Uganda? But the Almighty Allah knows what’s best for me.”
Baker Lukooya’s Fact File:
- Full Name: Baker Lukooya
- Nick Name: Bakerazy
- Date of Birth: 22nd December 1996
- Parents: Abdul Lukooya and Winfred Nabukenya
- Education: Buziga Islamic Primary School, Buziga Islamic Secondary (O-level), May Christian College, Nkumba-Kasenyi road (A-level), St. Lawrence University
- Football Career: MTN Academy (now KJT Academy), Kamwokya F.C (Kampala Regional League), Kiira Young (Promoted Team from Big League to Super Division), MUBS (Beach Soccer), St Lawrence University (Beach Soccer), KCCA F.C, Bright Stars F.C, Soana, AFC Leopards (Now)
- Role Models: Joseph Kabagambe, David Obua, Ryan Giggs and Jimmy Lukwago (Former Kiira Young Manager)
- Hobbies: Listening to soft Music
- Best Dish: Rice, Matooke and Beans with soda and water
- Toughest Opponent: Richard Kassaga (former teammate at Kiira Young, now at URA F.C)
- On Facebook: Yes [Baker Lukooya]
- On Twitter: Yes [@Bakerazy]