Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrímsson (R) with Bright Dhaira, Abel's father

The Iceland national football team coach, Heimir Hallgrímsson, joined thousands of mourners at former IBV Vestmannaeyjar and Uganda Cranes player Abel Dhaira’s burial on Wednesday and praised fallen goalkeeper as a disciplined human being.

Dhaira, who succumbed to abdominal cancer on Easter Sunday at a hospital in Iceland, was laid to rest at his ancestral village of Buyaga, Kigandalo in Mayuge District, Eastern Uganda.

Hallgrímsson, who – together with Lars Lagerback – led Iceland to Euro 2016 championship, is the man who identified a young Dhaira for professional football while at URA before finally securing his services from AS Vita in Congo. The Icelander was the coach of IBV at the time.

“Abel Dhaira was so humble,” Hallgrímsson told mourners, “He had different character from all African players I have ever met. He excelled by the virtue of his talent and above all he has been a God fearing man.”

Hallgrímsson first saw Dhaira when he watched the 2008 Cecafa in Kampala. He was following Tony Mawejje at the time.

He was later to sign Dhaira from Congolese side AS Vita to IBV in 2010. “So I made a deal with URA to bring Tony but I really saw what potential Abel Dhaira had at that time,” said Hallgrímsson. Dhaira died aged 28.

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