Sports

Massa and Batabaire: 2 Memorable Names to have Played in South Africa

Not too many leagues on the continent attract as much excitement as South Africa’s PSL. Characterised by exciting attacking football, and hard tackling defences, there is much to enjoy when watching the Premier Soccer League. 

The league serves as a dream destination for many ambitious African players, with players from Uganda being no different. 

While football, or soccer if you want to call it that,  may not be the first thing that comes to mind when Uganda is mentioned, there have been a handful of stars that have graced one of the continents most lauded and lucrative leagues. 

Here are two of the best to hail from the Pearl of Africa to represent some of South Africa’s local teams: 

Geoffrey Massa 

Often referred to as being a legend of the game in Uganda, Geoffrey Massa was born in Jinja, and began his footballing career with Police FC in the Ugandan Premier League in 2004. After one year with Police FC, he signed for Egyption club Al Masry in 2005. 

Massa went on to represent Al Masry for 4 years, before a short stint at another Egyption outfit El-Shams before his move to South Africa. Massa joined up with Jomo Cosmos, and went on to represent the Johannesburg based franchise fourteen times, hitting the back of the net once. 

Cosmos were relegated in 2008, and Massa decided to head back to Egypt to join Itesalat. In 2011 he moved to Northern Nicosia and after a 2 year spell with Turkish Cypriot team Yenicami Ağdelen he scored 49 times in 41 appearances, peaking the interests of the University of Pretoria in doing so. 

It was only in 2013 where the Ugandan number 9 came back to South Africa and began proving himself as a reliable and commanding target man. He joined “AmaTuks” and scored thirteen times in 49 appearances over a two year period, before moving to Bloemfontein Celtic, and later Baroka FC. 

Massa now plies his trade in Northern Nicosia, North Cyprus for Turkish Cypriot Team Küçük Kaymaklı. 

Timothy Batabaire 

Best remembered for his time at Bloemfontein Celtic, Batabaire was known as a hard tackling tough defender who knew how to command a back line.

Batabaire started his career with SC Villa in 1999, where he stayed for four years before moving to Serbian outfit OFK Niš for a brief spell in the 2004 season. It was here that he piqued the interests of Bloemfontein Celtic, where he later moved in the very same year. 

Batabaire’s hard working, no nonsense attitude helped him quickly establish himself as a top defender in South Africa’s top flight, and soon emerged as a player worthy of cult status to the Celtic faithful. 

Batabaire went on to captain the Bloemfontein outfit, and enjoyed 101 caps, scoring 6 goals in that time. Impressive considering he was a defender. It’s been widely reported that the Ugandan hero was instrumental in Bloemfontein Celtic’s 2005 SAA Supa 8 Cup win. 

After an immense five season spell at Bloemfontein Celtic, Batabaire enjoyed spells at Bidvest Wits, where he helped them to secure a Nedbank Cup win in 2010, before having brief stints with Vasco Da Gama and Garankuwa United. 

He retired in 2015. 

A special mention does have to be made to David Obua, who represented Kaiser Chiefs for three years, beginning in 2005. Not too many footballers manage to start their careers by scoring a goal in the Soweto Derby, making Obua worthy of a mention in this article. 

Obua’s old club Kaizer Chiefs are doing well in the PSL, and  have an upcoming game against Tshakhuma, where they have been dubbed favourites by Betway South Africa, who have given the Soweto Giants 2.03 odds to win the match. 

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