I am determined to win the I-League for East Bengal: Ivan Bukenya

Ivan Bukenya promises to win the coveted I-League for East Bengal this season.

Written by: Sujata Sarkar
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Kolkata, Dec 4: Uganda international defender Ivan Bukenya signed for Kolkata giantsEast Bengal on Saturday, December 3.

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Bukenya seemed confident as his first statement after having signed for the club was, “East Bengal has not won I-League for last 13 years! I am determined to steer the team to the desired victory this season.”

Ivan Bukenya (Image courtesy: East Bengal official website)

The 25-year old defender had a different story in his early days. He revealed that he could not have been a footballer at all if he had not such a generous and inspiring mother!

Bukenya said: “My father was a high profile officer at Uganda’s civil service. He was such a disciplined and strict that except doing study none of us in my family could dare to plan about careers according to their wish.

"My brothers and sisters were compelled to study. Only I was the reluctant one who did not want to study, but only liked playing football.”

Bukenya recalled that once his father stopped his lunch and dinner for a few consecutive days as the young lad, opposing his father’s strict instruction to concentrate on study instead of playing football.

The defender commented: “My mother came forward, standing beside me to inspire to play football. In her young age she used to play tennis seriously. She even represented University.

"That might have been the reason she realized my passion for football. And in a bid to rescue me from my father’s dictatorship in the home, my mother took me out of the home and started living in a different place with me.” And after his mother’s death in 2010, Bukenya thought of quitting the game.

The footballer also did not forget to disclose another interesting point that nowadays his father has been a changed man.

“Now if I perform well and get the man-of-the-match award somewhere my father becomes the first man to congratulate me,” remarked Bukenya.

The defender had all praise for former England international Rio Ferdinand who spotted Bukenya from an exhibition match in Uganda in 2007.

Ivan said: “If he had not picked me from that tournament, my career might have not been so smooth when I used to play outside Uganda.”

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