Rashidah Mutesi: the footballer who became the invincible queen of the swimming pool

Feared. Respected. Like. Rashidah Mutesi is an embodiment of all these elements. Most players dread the idea of ​​facing Ugandan women’s top seed Mutesi for her threatening attacks, but she remains humble and open to learning.
Usually dressed in a long robe in keeping with her Muslim religious values, Mutesi, commonly referred to as Kikadde among her peers, is pure bliss to watch.
The Nile Special USPA Consecutive Player of the Year has set the bar high on the local pool scene and has now set her sights on even bigger things.

“I won everything I needed to win in Uganda. Now I want a bigger challenge, maybe play in the world championships,” said Mutesi, who is looking forward to taking part in the blackball world championships. which will take place in Tangier, Morocco, from October 8 to 15.
Uganda has confirmed its participation in the event where it is expected to make its debut.
Although she was a runner-up at the prestigious National Open in 2018, losing to Ritah Nimusiima 7-4 in an eight-man race, Mutesi, voted by the Pool Association of Uganda (PAU) as the best player to come in her year of breakout in 2017, won the Kampala Open and the Christmas Cup, both in 2018.
She is the double champion of the PAU Grand Open; a title she has lifted during her two years of existence when she was crowned undisputed queen of the table last year in Masaka.

Early days
Mutesi, who started her sports career playing football as a striker, was hesitant to take up snooker despite pleas from her older sister Lukia Nayiga. Yet fate dragged her to the green bed.
“In 2017 I seriously injured myself while playing football. I couldn’t walk and throughout the healing time I used a cue stick for support. That’s when I started interested in snooker and that I joined my sister. Since then I haven’t looked back,” said Mutesi, who traces her early life to a local pub near her home in Ndeeba, Kampala.

Her first victory came at the national team trials when she prevailed against the cream of the country but had to wait a whole season to announce her arrival in the competitive pool.
In 2018, probably his best year, Mutesi won the Temusewo Open. Since then, winning has become his middle name.
Four times that year, she was crowned champion at a time when Victoria Namuyanja, whom she describes as her idol, as well as Nimusiima, Jacinta Kajubi, Zaimatt Nambafu and others, were at the top of their game.
“I was motivated to play well. By the time I arrived, Nayiga had just won the Christmas Cup and I felt like I could win because I considered myself better than her. Above all, Ismail Kalibbala – a longtime swimming pool association leader – never stopped encouraging me. The conditions were there for me to flourish,” she said.

Before Kalibbala scouted her as one for the future, renowned player Ssalongo Asuman Bukenya took Mutesi to Samona, but the competition was too high to squeeze into the team at the time.
Her first professional contract was signed with Sinkers in 2017. She would stay for a season and jump ship for CKI as one for the future to compliment the venomous Nimusiima, Namuyanja, Angela Busingye and her sister Nayiga.
With schoolgirl looks and her ears hanging from her shaved head with short hair, she was one of the Galacticos who made CKI a force to be reckoned with.
CKI trainer Bob Menani praised the teenage sensation, saying at a press conference that: “I saw a lot of potential in her.”
2018 would mark his first and only league title, although it was the best of his individual activities. In 2019, she played for Kampala Central before signing for Ntinda Giants.

Rashidah Mutesi

Made of steel
But for the 22-year-old, reaching such great heights in such a short time is the culmination of hard work and competitiveness as her high-risk aggressive play finally pays off.
Currently, she hates playing her sister, for emotional reasons, but the emergence of Ankah Sheila disturbs her peace at the top of the chart.
In recent weekly tournaments in Mukono, Mutesi lost both finals to the Jinja-based defensive player. A similar approach is normally employed by her sister whenever they meet. Even ceding the African title to his older sister, it was the defensive approach that ruined his championship.

“I build my game in attack. That means having a good break. If the break doesn’t favor me, I lose most of these games,” Mutesi said.
For her sister, whom she normally beats in local competitions, Mutesi said it was a draw she dreaded.
“It’s a terrible match,” she said of the many times she had to face her sister. “You can come in really wanting to win and end up losing. It sucks. You can go days without speaking or calling each other.

Before being put together, the sisters share almost everything, including the handbag.
She fondly recalled the defeat she suffered in Zambia at the African Championships when Nayiga beat them 5-3 in the singles final. Nayiga then told Daily Monitor that her sister hadn’t spoken to her for weeks and they never congratulated each other after the victory.

“It hurt me a lot to lose the African title. From the start, it was up to me to lose. I’m a very competitive person, but losing this final almost made me quit billiards. I had trained so hard and I was the favorite but I ended up losing. It took me a long time to recover from that loss,” said Mutesi.
The all-around game that Mutesi possesses has always made her one of the most enjoyable players for fans to watch. And while most of the top ranked women in Uganda have ferocious potting abilities, what makes Mutesi unique is that she is also adept at attacking which allows her to finish quickly.
She marries attack with strategic acumen and mental focus, making her one of the most dangerous players to play against.

survival game
Ugandan women are seeded and surprisingly second in Africa, Mutesi’s emergence at the top of the sport goes against the prevailing norms in the women’s pool. Compared to her peers in Southern Africa who have achieved a high level of success and earn a lot of money through sport, Mutesi plays billiards out of passion.

“You must have a secondary source of income. The swimming pool does not pay us. Even when we win with the national team, we go home empty-handed,” she said.
Coming from a Muslim background in what is mostly considered a bar game hasn’t stopped Mutesi from reaching great heights.
“At the beginning, our parents did not support us. They considered billiards as a game of bayaye (lumpen). But when Nayiga won in 2017, now they even pray for us when we go to tournaments,” said Mutesi, who trains at Pot It Bar in Najjanankumbi.

After finishing second at the Lugogo National Open in 2018, Mutesi was offered a first-class pool table and prize money. The table has since been his main source of income and the collections acquired have allowed him to buy a second table.
“I feel like snooker can change my life, but currently we survive playing tournaments,” said Mutesi, who has two tables; one in Rubaga and the other in Kibuye to supplement his gambling income.
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