The starlet became the first-ever Crane to score in the junior continental tournament that is being held in Mauritania
Uganda U20 striker Derrick Kakooza has revealed hopes of reaching the level of success Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has achieved.
The Police FC striker, who is in Mauritania with the junior national side, said he is inspired by the Gabon international and hopes will be as successful as the Gunners’ skipper in future.
“I like him [ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] as a person and I like his style,” Kakooza told Caf Online. “I like how he plays and he inspires me a lot.
“One day I would want to reach where he has reached in his career.”
The 18-year -old launched his career at Naguru Police Academy and was promoted in 2017 into the senior side while he was still schooling at St Mary’s School, Kitende.
He scored a goal against Busoga United, then known as Kirinya FC, during his debut to hand the Cops a 1-0 victory.
“It was a dream debut for me because people were saying I was too young, I should not be in the senior team but my coach Abdallah Mubiru trusted me and gave me that chance. He encouraged and told me that I could do it,” he continued.
Kakooza became the first Ugandan to score in the U20 Afcon competition and his dream is to emerge as the top scorer and also help the junior Cranes progress in the tournament from the preliminary stage.
“I want to advance my career and maybe this tournament can offer the breakthrough for me,” he added.
“I want to keep working hard and my target is to become the top scorer. I also hope I can help my team move from the group stages to the next level and hopefully we can finish the tournament in a respectable position.”
Kakooza’s father, Charles Sempeja, had his career cut short after he suffered a fracture when he was turning out for Masaka FC, and the striker has stated he inherited the family football mantle from his parent.
“My father told me that because he could no longer play, he hoped that I could take football as a career and I represent him to reach where he could not reach,” he continued.
“That was such a huge motivation for me. He was a striker and so naturally, I also became a striker. He told me to take over from him.
“My parents have really supported me. They believed in me from the beginning and gave me enough support. They bought me boots, took me to different academies to train and always gave me advice.”
Kakooza’s goal helped Uganda pick up an opening 2-0 win over Mozambique on Monday and he has revealed the goal came given the hard work he has been putting on at the training pitch.
“It was a huge honour for me to become the first Ugandan to score at this tournament,” the starlet concluded.
“It was the culmination of hard work since we began training.
“This has really motivated me to work even harder for the remaining matches and I am sure my dad was excited as well. I represented him well.”
Kakooza’s rise especially at club level could propel him to a first call-up by the senior national team in the near future.