•At Leopards, Jimmy reveals he suffered his first heart break in football when they missed out on the league title under Dutch tactician, Jan Koops and James Nandwa.
•After helping his beloved Nairobi City Stars reclaim a spot in the top flight league, the club still deemed him surplus to requirement.
Had it not been for his immense talent, Jimmy Bageya would probably not have lasted a season as a professional footballer.
The diminutive Ugandan winger’s short fuse put him in the crosshairs of his coaches and teammates but his ability on the football pitch meant he traversed six different countries—Malaysia, Thailand, Botswana, Rwanda, Zambia and Kenya—playing football with relative degree of success.
“That was then but I have grown now and gathered experience and now that is very much in the past. Moreover my actions on the pitch were mostly a mind game to give me advantage over my opponents in the eyes of the officials,” explained Bageya.
Despite his attempts to explain his actions, it is telling that at the prime of his career and after helping his beloved Nairobi City Stars reclaim a spot in the top flight league, the club still deemed him surplus to requirement.
“I am not at City Stars now. They wanted me to sign a contract renewal but my agent thought otherwise. I am waiting for him to advise me on my next move,” remarked the 29-year-old. Bageya’s love affair with Kenyan football began way back when he was still in secondary school. He was part of the all conquering St.Mary Kitende team of 2006 that dominated school football.
“We came for the East Africa secondary school games with St. Mary’s Kitende from Uganda and I was named the best player in the games and we won the football trophy,” recalled Bageya.
From then on, his career took off. The very next year upon completion of his high school, the teenager was signed up by Police FC in his native Uganda, where he stayed for a year and scored three goals. Ever a restless spirit, Bageya was soon leaving Entebbe for Rwanda, where he was recruited by Electrogaza.
Unbeknownst to him, Police would be the last club he played for in Uganda. He would go on and live a slight mark in Rwandese football, scoring seven goals for the electricity side. But it was in Botswana, where he would enjoy his first taste of success as a league player.
“I joined BDF after my time in Rwanda and managed to win the Premier League title in Botswana, which was my first club trophy,” he said.
In between his moves on the African continent, he won the Cecafa Under-20 title with Baby Cranes, picking the top scorer’s gong after plundering ten goals.
With Kenyan football the envy of many in East and Central Africa following the broadcast deal with SuperSports Bageya like many players in the region wanted to be a part of it.He got the opportunity when he signed up for fast improving former giants Gor Mahia in 2011.
“It was my first time playing in the Kenyan league and I very much enjoyed the adoration of the K’Ogalo fans,” reminisces Bageya.
It was not long before the unsettled Bageya left Gor to join their arch-rivals AFC Leopards who were paying top dollar to their players following a sponsorship deal with Mumias Sugar. At Leopards, Jimmy reveals he suffered his first heart break in football when they missed out on the league title under Dutch tactician, Jan Koops and James Nandwa.
“My biggest disappointment in football was when we lost to Gor the trophy when I was with AFC Leopard where had enjoyed my best ever goal scoring return with nine goals and five assists. We had a strong squad but we lost steam midway and lost an opportunity to win the title after a long time.”
Another switch was inevitable for the rest-less Ugandan. This time round, he found a new home at Nairobi City Stars for the 2014 season. He did not stay there for long and went to Mombasa to play for Bandari the very next season. His constant switch from one club to another was an indication to how unsettling his character was.
After failing to nail down a regular place in the Bandari squad, the temperamental Uganda rejoined City Stars. He would go on to save the club from relegation on the last day of the 2017 season, a feat that he wears proudly as a badge of honour in his career. “My favourite memories is no doubt when I saved City Stars out of relegation against KCB,” he stated proudly.
Upon helping City Stars retain their top flight status, Bageya opted to try his luck overseas—joining Thailand third tier outfit Krabi FC. But Even a move abroad could not make Bageya sit still.
He only stayed there long enough to score four goals in the 2018 season before returning to join Kakamega Homeboyz. True to form, Bageya was on the move again rejoining City Stars who had been relegated to the National Super League.
He would help them gain promotion back to the top division when Football Kenya Federation applied the Force Majeure principle to end the 2020 campaign to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sanjin Alagic’s side had enjoyed a healthy advantage at the top and were certain of returning to the elite league even before it was ended. It speaks volumes of Bageya’s character that his beloved club showed him the door upon their return to the big time.
Name: Jimmy Bageya
2020: Nairobi City Stars
2019:NAPSA Stars (Zambia)
2018/2019: Kakamega Homeboyz
2017/2018: Krabi FC, Thailand
2015/2016: Nairobi City Stars
2014/2015: Bandari Fc
2013/2014: Nairobi City Stars
2012/2013: AFC Leopards
2011/2012: Gor Mahia
2010/2011 : BDF (Botswana)
2008/2009: Electrogaza (Rwanda)
2007/2008: Police FC (Uganda)