As Uganda mourns the death of the Uganda Cranes hero and goal keeper, Abel Dhaira commonly known as Abbey Dhaira One of Uganda’s best goal keepers of modern times, let’s share the little we know about the Young soul who has left the world at such a tender age of 28 years. He has died of cancer from Iceland where he has been playing his professional football.
Early Life of Abbey Dhaira
He was born on September 9, 1987 in Walukuba, Jinja district, Busoga region. He started showing the football talent while in Primary School as a goal keeper. Bing a goal keeper is a family talent. He is son of former Uganda Cranes Keeper Dhaira Bright and hisMother -Nakijjoba Harriet both still alive. His brother Eric Dhaira is currently the Goal Keeper of Makerere University Business School (MUBS) team. He attended Narambai Primary School from Primary one up to Primary six and then went to Walukuba East Primary School for P7. He later attended Jinja Secondary School for his O and A level.
Abel started playing professional football at the age of 18 in 2006 when he started playing for Express FC (Mukwano gwabangi). He played in Express for two years before he left for URA. He joined in URA FC and spent two years at the tax collectors club where he left after two seasons. While at URA, he made his first appearance on the Uganda Cranes team. After URA, URA sold him to the Congolese club AS Vita which is based in Kinshasha at the price of USD 22,000 which was around UGX 42,000,000 at the time.
After one year in 2011 at the Democratic Republic of Congo team, Abbey Dhaira left the team for the Iceland Football Team known as Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja always abbreviated as ÍBV a team he has been playing for up to his death. However, at ÍBV, after 31 appearances in 2013, he was released to the Tanzania club Simba FC where he played one season and left due to poor relations with the management and also changes in the Tanzania league rules as they required first team goal keepers to be from the home country.
Abby returned to the Iceland ÍBV again as they still needed his services and in 2014 early January he joined the team where he kept playing for the team up to his last minute. In the second term as the goal keeper of ÍBV he made 27 appearances.
Abbey had made 11 appearances on the national Uganda Cranes team since his debut in 2009. In 2012 he was the first choice goal keeper of the Uganda cranes in the CECAFA cup though he was taken out and hospitalized after a serious injury where he collided with a player from the opponents Kenya in Day one match and the remaining matches Uganda used the second choice keeper Hamza Muwonge.
In his Football career, Abbey Dhaira was the best player of the 2008 season in Uganda while in URA, he become the first Ugandan goalkeeper to pray in Europa League, and also became the first Uganda keeper to play in top league in Europe. He was such a darling in football, jolly and kind, as his friends describe him- The Good die young!
While in his club ÍBV, in 2015 October, Abbey Dhaira started developing stomach complications, in fact that was the last time he played for his team. When the situation started becoming serious, he asked for a sick leave and came back home in Jinja, Uganda where he was admitted at Nsambya Hospital, the largest private hospital in Uganda in January 2016. He decided to fly back to Iceland and continued to receive medication as the club was meeting the costs. It was later discovered by the doctors that he was diagnosed with the abdominal cancer.
On Monday 21st, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit after his condition worsened the doctors advised the family to take him to Germany for better medication and in a bid to raise funds to take him to Germany, on Good Friday, friends, relatives, fans and supporters of football hold a fundraising and raised he funds to help in his treatment. Among the funds raised, FUFA contributed USD 1,000 around UGX 3,300,000.
Death and Aftermath
On that fateful day, on Eater Sunday, in the Afternoon, while University of Iceland hospital, Abbey Dhaira breathed his last, grieving and condolence messages started all over Uganda from and towards the family, friends, relatives and his fans. He has died at the tender age of 28 years.
Various people have sent their grieving messages and condolence messages including former Uganda Cranes Captain Ibrahim Ssekajja, Uganda Vice President His Excellency Edward Ssekandi, various sports analysts and sports personnel, musicians and football fans. Uganda cranes on 29th March while playing the return leg at Nambole stadium with Burkina Faso will hold moment of silence in honor of him.
His body is expected to be flown to the country on in this week that we have started. And Burial will take place in his ancestral home in Walukuba, Jinja District.
Abbey Dhaira, our Footballer, our son, a brother to many and a friend and a role model. May the Lord God be with you and may your soul rest in eternal peace.