How Shafik Batambuze overcame injury hurdle

Monday, April 20th, 2020 23:55 |
Gor Mahia defender Shafik Batambuze training at Everton’s Finch Farm base when the club toured the UK in 2018.

Gor Mahia and Uganda Cranes left-back Shafik Batambuze is expecting to be back in action by June after recovering from a knee injury that saw him undergo surgery last November after an agonising three-month wait.

The 25-year-old got injured in Gor Mahia’s 4-1 win against Aigle Noir of Burundi in a CAF Champions League match in August.

However, the club’s financial constraints saw him wait until November when he underwent surgery in Entebbe at his own cost.

Two months ago,  the ace got back to light training after engaging a personal trainer who is walking the journey to full recovery with the defender. 

He had been given seven months to full recovery and he is confident by June, he will be ready to get back to the pitch.  

“I am getting better each day and I am confident by June I will have recovered fully. 

I got back to the gym under a personal instructor and also went for swimming sessions until the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible. 

I have since switched to home training where I do the same things, with the exception of swimming,” Batambuze told People Sport on phone from Uganda, adding that alongside a few friends in the neighborhood, he is also able to do some football drills which have helped him regain ball control.

He added: “I am also going for five kilometre runs every day and having sprinting sessions in my compound.

Since my trainer lives in the same vicinity, he comes to my house twice a week and the rest of the days he leaves me a programme that I have to follow.” 

His injury, alongside those of others such as his Gor team-mate Philemon Otieno that hit the headlines last year, brought out the sorry state of local clubs as the club was unable to help in the treatment.

In the three months that Batambuze waited for the club to act as he also solicited funds to cater for the procedure, that eventually cost Sh350,000, he lost precious time. 

“I do not blame the club because I understand they had no money after the shirt sponsor withdrew.

However, if we had insurance, the check-up, tests and subsequent surgery would have been done within a short time and by now I would be back to playing but I lost three months as I waited. 

I understood the situation at the club and they promised to refund my expenses when things get better,” the player said. 

Two of his closest friends came to his aid when all else had failed and helped him pay for the surgery.

Former Gor  defender,  currently playing for Egyptian Premier League side Misr Lel Makkasa SC, Khalid Aucho and Alex Kajubi, a Ugandan player based in Netherlands playing for Rijtersbleek FC in the Third Klasse (fourth division) were those who stood with him.

“The two are like brothers to me.  We have grown up together in Jinja and they stayed true to the brotherhood when I needed them.

This is the same thing I would urge everyone who has a friend or relative playing for Gor Mahia to do.  Things are tough at this time and all these players need help,” said Batambuze. 

To the defender,  this is just a minor setback and he is working towards getting back on the pitch a better player.  As his contract at Gor Mahia is set to expire in November,  he believes he will be fit enough to land another deal immediately. 

“I want to challenge myself to be better than I was and I am working towards that even as I recover.

The challenging part was before I underwent surgery and with that behind me, I am focused on coming back better and stronger.

I am a journeyman. My contract ends in November but, whatever happens, I cannot stay without a club,” said Batambuze who has been in the Kenyan Premier League for close to six years, having also played for Muhoroni Youth, Western Stima, Sofapaka and Tusker before landing at K’Ogalo.

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