If you met her off the pitch, pill you would hardly believe Vanessa Edith Karungi is a great goalkeeper nor would you get the impression she is a footballer.
A jolly 17 year old student at Mukono High School and a goalkeeper with Olila High School, site Karungi has made her way to the limelight in what has been a successful year for both her school and club.
Playing in arguably an important position on the pitch, a goalkeeper is often called upon to come up big in massive situations and making sure you clean up the mess whenever your defense line is beaten.
And that is exactly what Karungi has achieved this year as she continues to grow in stature and scintillating performance between the posts.
Penalty saving moments
In the build up to the winning their maiden national ball games championship, Mukono High School needed Karungi’s ability at saving penalties on two occasions (in the semifinals and finals).
In the semifinals, Mukono edged past Gaddaffi Integrated Academy and Karungi rose to the occasion saving three penalties.
It was a similar case in the finals when the shot stopper saved three penalties guiding Mukono High School to their maiden championship.
She went ahead to end the tournament without conceding a goal in normal time(8 clean sheets) and was without a doubt named the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
At her club Olila, Karungi missed the better part of the first round of the Fufa Women elite league due to an injury but upon return, she was instrumental as the Soroti based team went ahead to reach the playoffs for the first time in history,
They finished fourth but Karungi once again saved 3 penalties in the third place playoff against Uganda Martyrs’ High School albeit lost 2-1 in the shootout.
In the Fufa Women’s Cup, the goalie came off the bench to save three penalties as Olila eliminated UCU Lady Cardinals in the semifinals.
Come the final on Sunday, 18th June 2017, Olila needed a brilliant second half display to draw with Gafford Ladies 1-1 in the final of the Fufa Women’s cup. This meant that the game had to be decided on penalties. This provided a chance for Karungi to display what she does best.
She saved once while the other two kickers for Gafford Ladies fired wide and Olila went ahead to win 3-1 and were crowned champions.
Who is Vanessa Edith Karungi?
Born on 8th November 1999 to Mr. Francis Byamukama and Mrs. Rtd Major Betty Akello Otekat, Karungi is the eldest child in the family with two other siblings.
Karungi got her elementary education at Kyebambe Girls Primary school in Fort Portal district where she also sat for her Primary Leaving Examinations(PLE). From here, she joined Kyebambe Girls Secondary School before shifting to St.Mary’s Kitende and later on Kakungulu Memorial where she sat for Uganda Cerificate of Education(UCE).
She joined Mukono High School last year where she currently studying in senior six.
Getting interest in football
In an exclusive interview with Chimp Reports Vanessa Karungi narrates that she got interest to start playing football in 2013 while still at Kyebambe Girls SS in senior two,
“I loved the game since my childhood but had not developed to desire to play it until my senior two. But because I was a bit slow and could not run on pitch I decided to become a goalkeeper,” she said.
From here, Karungi did not look back and has continued to chase her dream of becoming a great goalkeeper.
When she joined St. Mary’s Kitende and Kakungulu which are traditional schools known for promoting women’s football, Karungi got even better.
In a bid to become a better goalkeeper, Karungi has always looked up to the very best goalies both locally and internationally.
In Uganda, she is inspired by Uganda Cranes goalkeeper and captain, Dennis Onyango who plies his trade at Manelodi Sundowns in South Africa.
Karungi also looks up to Germany and Bayern Munich skipper Manuel Neur because of his ability at one on one situations and ball distribution.
Karungi stamps authority between the posts with the ability to command the defense line despite being a soft spoken person off the pitch.
A good game reader who always comes off her line to intercept crosses and also good at one on one situations.
Above all the adeptness to save penalties has earned Karungi the rise to prominence.
After helping Mukono win the national championship, Karungi has set the target to clinching the East Africa Secondary schools title with the tournament slated to take place in August in Gulu District.
Karungi also dreams of playing for the national team, the Crested cranes and with the Cecafa tournament around the corner, she believes the national team coach, Majjidah Nantanda will summon her.
Full Names: Edith Karungi Vanessa
Date of Birth: 8th November, 1999
Place of Birth: Fort Portal
Parents: Francis Byamukama and Betty Akello Otekat