Endowed with a down to earth personality, Jacob Okao hasn’t taken long to show the Uganda’s soccer-mad fraternity his footballing gifts.
Given a nod by coach Edward Golola in Vipers’ Starting XI against Kyetume as the club started its StarTimes Uganda Premier League (SUPL) second round campaign, Okao put on a brave show in the face of adversity last Friday (January 10).
The St Mary’s Kitende (SMASK) Academy product made a good account of himself on his debut while partnering Geoffrey Wasswa at center back with Paul Willa and Aziz Kayondo patrolling the right and left back positions respectively.
As expected Okao was a tense but busy body early on in the game. But his confidence grew with the game and it was no surprise as he went on to emerge supreme from a handful of duels as Vipers fought keep a clean sheet and win the bruising encounter 1-0 against legendary Jackson Mayanja’s Slaughters.
Always with a keen eye, Okao’s shift didn’t go unnoticed by coach Golola.
“Okao impressed the technical team,” said Golola. “He played well despite it being his first senior appearance. Performing at this stage for many young players is not easy but he did commendably well. We believe he still needs guidance and time to get there (finished product).”
Second time better
With club captain Halid Lwaliwa returning to the side for the second game of the Second Round against Proline at the StarTimes Stadium in Lugogo on Tuesday (January 14), Okao had to pave way.
But like the old English adage; ‘One Man’s Misfortune is Another Man’s Opportunity’, Lwaliwa got injured in the 39th minute.
One glance at the bench and Golola summoned Okao to the touchline as a replacement for the ill-fated skipper. Okao placed no foot wrong as he exhibited a much calmer and composed game this time round as Vipers dominated and won 4-2 to go seven points clear atop of the log on 42.
“There was no other substitute to make apart from him. Once again, he played well. His judgment was good. He will be very important for us going forward,” Golola said of Okao’s second game cameo in defence.
The gaffer is determined to continue pushing the youngster at practice with the foreseeable future already indicating Okao could be the club’s go-to man if the last game is anything to by.
Quick Glance At Okao
Full Names: Jacob Okao
DOB: April 4, 2001
Weight: 64 kgs
Jersey No: 22
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