Dan Muzeyi Sserunkuma’s most distinctive feature is his rapid acceleration which allows him to go from zero to 70 kilometres per hour within a few steps. He has what European commentators like to call a very quick first step. he also has sharp reflexes and loose hips which enable him to change direction in either rapidly. The rapid acceration and reflexes are what allows him to whiz past defenders leaving them for dead. He can accelerate in either direction which makes anticipating his moves a difficult proposition. “He is lethal and difficult to mark,” said Tusker FC defender Jockins Atudo.
Once he has whizzed past a defender, it is at this point that his footspeed takes over. Once Sserunkuma gets a few steps in front of a defender, it is curtains closed. Most defenders have a snowballs chance in hell of catching him. It is precisely for this reason that Sserunkuma’s runs have resulted in many a penalty as defenders find themselves with no other alternative but to foul him.
If there is open space, available, Sserunkuma launches one of his trademark rockets which often leaves goalkeepers hapless. But he is also capable of precise finish. Such was the case when he chipped the ball over the Muhoroni Youth keeper during week 6 of the 2013 KPL season.
But thats not it. Sserunkuma is also a brilliant passer. Last year, Rama Salim was on the finishing end of several defence splitting passes from Sserunkuma. Finally, sserunkuma is sure footed from the penalty spot. That in a nutshell is Dan Sserunkuma. The Ugandan phenom.
The 22-year-old, third-born in a family of four, joined Friends of Football Academy in Uganda at the age of 10. He says he was inspired by Ugandan legend, the late Majid Musisi, who many Ugandans regard as the country’s best football player of all time.
Sserunkuma started playing professional football at Ugandan team Express in 2008, and after one year moved to rivals Victors FC, where he stayed for two years.
Nicknamed “Mzee”, Sserunkuma first came to prominence when he played for the Uganda Under 17 team in 2009 during the now defunct CECAFA U17 tournament. Sserunkuma was top scorer in that tournament scoring in virtually every game. On the way to the final, Uganda had trounced an ill prepared, hurrieldy assembled Kenya side 4-1. His goal against Malawi was most memorable and a harbinger of things to come. He darted his way past the entire Malawi defence before rounding the goalkeeper. Does any of this sound familiar ? It should be familiar to most KPL defenders who have been on the receiving end of Sserunkuma’s whiplash speed.
In 2010, Sserunkuma was at it again at the CECAFA U20 championships, also now defunct. Once again he was top scorer and led Uganda to victory. In the semi final , Uganda met a Kenya team with the likes of Anthony Akumu, Innocent Mutiso, Moses Arita, Jacob Keli and Paul Were. Uganda won 2-1. Sserunkuma scored the second goal taking advantage of a defensive blunder to lob the ball over the Kenyan goalkeeper.
In 2011, Sserunkuma crossed over to Kenya to join City Stars. “I had heard about Harambee Stars and top clubs. I knew little about City Stars, but they are the ones who were to bring me to Kenya,” said Sserunkuma. At City Stars Serenkuma was rarely in the news for any wrong reasons. Even when the club had financial problems, he never publicly demanded pay. He continued with his brilliant play for City stars but none of the top teams showed any interest, even as Gor Mahia fans pleaded with the club to sign Sserunkuma including on this blog. He had played for City Stars for one and half years before Gor Mahia finally came calling with an offer.
He ended the 2012 season with 12 goals and several assists and was named the 2012 KPL player of the year. Most memorable was his goal against AFC Leopards at Kasarani. He picked up the ball while facing away from the goal with an AFC defender right behind him. On receiving the ball, Sserunkuma turned and immediately lost the defender with one of his killer first steps before unleashing the ball to the roof of the net from 20 yards. Patrick Matasi in the AFC Leopards goal stood no chance as the ball shook the net to rapturous applause from the Kogalo faithful.
Sserunkuma’s history of tormenting AFC Leopards goes back to when he played for Nairobi City Stars. During the 2012 season, City Stars were battling relegation when they came up against AFC Leopards in week 13. Sserunkuma struck a brace as City Stars beat AFC 3-0.
Sserunkuma explains why he is always motivated to play against AFC; “When I came to Kenya last season, I wanted to play for AFC Leopards. I approached them but one of their officials said I did not look like a footballer. He called me an impostor. That hurt,” he said.
“I promised myself to always play hard against AFC, just to show them what talent they had turned away without as much as a second thought. And I am doing exactly that – creating misery for them by scoring in their goal every chance I get,” he added.
This AFC official clearly did not do his homework. If he did, he would have known of Sserunukuma’s history in the CECAFA youth tournaments.
Even after his superb performance in the Kenya premier league in 2012, he had not received a call up to the Uganda national team, the Cranes. Stories started to appear that he would switch allegiance to Kenya and play for Harambee stars. Finally in February of 2013 he got his first national team call up. During his debut against Rwanda, Sserunkuma scored one goal from the penalty spot and set up another. It was a classic Sserunkuma performance.
Circa 2013, the year started slowly for Sserunkuma during the first few games. But he slowly rounding back into the form that saw him win the KPL player of the year award. He once again sunk AFC Leopards with clinical finish in the 75th minute.
As Gor Mahia sought to win the national league for the first time in 18 years, it was Sserunkuma who played the pivotal role by scoring in almost all the last 10 games of the 2013 league. Thanks largely to Sserunkuma’s goalscoring heroics, Gor Mahia won the league.