Whereas a number of young men fear to settle down, Paul Mucureezi knows that he has found the right woman and has sealed the deal with a public proposal. He chats with George Katongole about the relationship and future plans.
It was a memorable victory for the Uganda Premier League leaders Vipers on February 26. But it will be a much more memorable night for one Venom, as the Vipers’ faithful prefer to call themselves.
Vipers defeated Maroons 5-0 at St Mary’s SS Stadium in Kitende to keep their title ambitions alive. In the jubilation of that win, forward Paul Mucureezi saw the perfect opportunity to ask his Kenyan-born girlfriend Esther Swabale for her hand in marriage.
Planning the surprise
The proposal was supposed to be held on February 18. Yet on the day Vipers played out a 0-0 draw with fellow title chasers, KCCA FC. Three days later, the club was humiliated by URA with a 3-1 win.
“But the plan was to have the surprise during the next home game which we easily won against Maroons. I had asked my teammates to win it for me,” Paul explains.
So, Vipers spokesman Abdu Wasike had to keep the rings for one more week.
The plan was hatched with Joan, a friend, who was to walk Esther to the pitch. “I had told Esther that if we won, we would take selfies on the pitch. She, therefore, came thinking that we were going to do just that,” Paul says.
However, Paul dropped on one knee, presented the ring, and asked for her hand in marriage. His teammates, including prominent football fan Kamodo, joined the planned jubilations. Visibly surprised, she said yes.
He says the only hitch is that the bouquet could not come in time as it had been kept far away to prevent any suspicion. He presented it afterwards. “I had to do this on the pitch as a lesson to other players that they need to be in committed relationships since I have noticed that a number prefer casual relationships,” he says.
How they met
The lovebirds met while studying at Uganda Christian University in Mukono. Esther was in her first year while Paul was in third year undertaking a bachelors in Procurement and Logistics.
“I was naturally drawn to her at first sight and reached out to her through a friend,” Paul says.
He adds that they were friends for a while until their first date when he invited her for dinner at a hotel in Mukono.
Since we were meeting for the first time away from her friends, I expected her to come with a friend but she came alone and later said it was because she trusted me.
Paul says he was impressed Esther did not take alcohol, just like him. “I personally do not love women who go to bars. I am glad I found a God-fearing woman who cares about and plans for the future,” Paul says.
When Paul left university to pursue his football career with KCCA, then Mbarara City and now Vipers, she kept the fire burning.
“It was sort of a long-distance. At KCCA, the manager was strict, so I hardly had time to travel to Mukono frequently. When I joined Mbarara City Football Club, the distance grew bigger. But we kept the fire burning through constant communication,” he says.
Paul describes Esther as a caring woman. “Our young relationship has always been based on trust and honesty. We are solely devoted to each other and each other’s happiness,” he says.
“I have learned from my father that marriage is a job. It does not come easy, but you both have to have the same goals and work together,” he says. “The biggest lesson I learned from my mother is to say sorry,” he adds.
Plans are underway for a wedding later this year although Paul prefers to keep the details secret.