Name : Isaac Newton Massanganzira
Height : 5’9
Weight : 77 kgs
Position : Centre / Utility back
Club : Black Pirates rugby club
Leadership role : Among the senior players in the team leaders / Captained the 7’s side in the recently concluded national sevens series
Caps / international engagements : Played at the Uganda – French Army 7’s circuit.
Represented Uganda at the FISU World Varsity 7’s in Namibia
Part of the Emerging Uganda 7’s at the 2018 Christie 7’s in Nairobi
Part of the Uganda sevens team at the 2018 Africa 7’s in Tunisia
Popularly known as Massa, the Pirates sensation went to St. Savio and St. Noah for his Primary years before going on to King’s College Budo for O level and London College of St. Lawrence for A Level.
Massa started his rugby experience at Budo in form 1- “ as soon as i set my eyes on the sport for the first time, I fell so much in love and was always watching and practicing, I had a big heart despite my tiny size then”
He was encouraged to keep pushing by Budo rugby household names; Zimbe Pafula who was in his senior six at the time and Bulime Enock who was in form three – both went on to feature for Pirates as well.
“ Bulime actually used to force me to play and sometimes give him opposition as he did personal practice.” Massa reminiscences.
Massa’s competitive rugby started with Budo’s under 14 side where he was coached by Ronnie Nalera who imparted in him the belief that rugby wasn’t played by size but by the heart. Massa eventually went on to represent the great college at under 16 level and then finally broke into the senior team (under 19) in form four. During this time, Massa was playing as a scrum half and would occasionally slot in at fly half.
He later moved to London college of St. Lawrence where growth had become a little kinder to him as he had grown taller (probably due to the new environment and food) – he insisted on playing as a scrumhalf despite the bodily changes however when Namilyango old boys; Walakira and Kakuru (payo) started coaching the school, he was shifted to centre and fly half.
Later on, Etuket and Ahamya Sam took over coaching at St.Lawrence which lured many to Pirates after high school and Massa was among the many. He joined Pirates in his form six vacation along with Conrad Wanyama and Nathan Bwambale at a time when Kinene was the Pirates coach; thanks to Kinene, Massa got his 15’s rugby debut for Pirates against Heathens at kyadondo.
Starting out young at the biggest stage built the confidence in the group and made the team more ambitious to perform which has made Massa and many of the current crop the success story they are today. He adds by saying, “ Not forgetting our main man, coach Bobby, who has been with us since Kinene left and made things easier for us by the way he understands each player and tries to build him to his strength”
Life outside rugby
“I am at Makerere University in my final year and work part time as well”
Balancing rugby and other aspects
“Balancing is not hard if you always make the time for each and everything and don’t procrastinate.” – time allocation and the discipline to avoid postponing issues is key.
Favourite rugby moment
“ Last season when we completed the clean sweep, nothing feels better for a Ugandan rugby player than that”
Worst rugby moment
During the recently concluded Africa sevens championship in Tunisia – “ the loss to Zimbabwe in the semifinals was saddening but hope to recover”
Rugby role models
Osea Kolinisau and Jonny wilkinson
Local – Ivan Magomu
International – Israel Falou
Future rugby aspirations
“I look forward to a 15’s debut, And playing at the World sevens series.”
What changes he would make if he had the power
“ If i had the power , i would put in place the right structures and facilities to grow the sport but also reshuffle the whole system so we can have transparency between the union and players which would get us the right funding to move this sport forward in the country”
Message to the fans
“I appreciate all the support accorded and for that you are the only reason we always continue pushing for better performances each and everyday. Never stop hoping and believing, You keep us going.”
Message to upcoming players
“ And to players out there, never lose hope and never settle for less, Always keep hungry for improvement and let nothing stop you. BUT ALWAYS be grateful to GOD and stay humble because no one ever stays on top for good unless you keep building on what you have.”