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Where are heroes of Villa’s 1987 Cecafa-winning side?

1987 SC Villa squad. Back row L-R: Sula Kato, Paul Hasule, Rogers Nsubuga, George Otto, Yusuf Ssonko and Godfrey Kateregga.  Front row L-R: Geoffrey Higenyi, Magid Musisi, Twaha Kivumbi, Sam Mubiru and Edward Nassamba

1987 SC Villa squad. Back row L-R: Sula Kato, Paul Hasule, Rogers Nsubuga, George Otto, Yusuf Ssonko and Godfrey Kateregga. Front row L-R: Geoffrey Higenyi, Magid Musisi, Twaha Kivumbi, Sam Mubiru and Edward Nassamba

Following last week’s tracing of whereabouts of KCCA’s 1978 Cecafa stars, I got a lot of mail asking the same for SC Villa’s Cecafa championship winning side.

On February 7, 1987, Villa also lifted the Cecafa Club Championship title for the first time. Hosted in Uganda, the tournament attracted nine teams from seven countries. Interestingly, another Ugandan side, Blue Bats, was drafted into the tournament and pooled in group B based at Bugembe, Jinja.

Villa reached the final in dominant fashion but Sudan’s Al-Merrikh was no pushover. In the end, Sula Kato’s goal was enough for Villa to win the tournament at Nakivubo stadium. Hajji Moses Kigongo, the chief guest, handed the trophy to Villa skipper Paul Hasule 

Thirty-seven years on, many players from the dominant side have passed on.

EDWARD NASSAMBA

He was the man in goal and featured in all matches, conceding just one goal. He left the club in 1989 and moved to Spear Motors FC. He died on February 28, 1992.

PAUL HASULE

The skipper played every minute of the tournament and went on to captain The Cranes the following year. He passed away on April 26, 2004.

JOHN KAWEESI

The right fullback had just joined Villa weeks earlier from KCCA. He featured prominently in the knockout stages after replacing Yusuf Ssonko. He later relocated to the United Kingdom where he stays to this day.

YUSUF SSONKO

He featured in the group phase of the tournament before fitness issues sidelined him. Ssonko left the club after the end of the season and moved to Express. He also later relocated to the UK.

GEOFREY HIGENYI

The no-nonsense left back only missed one game but played a key role in the triumph. Since retirement, he has coached several clubs, both in Kampala and eastern Uganda.

CHARLES KATUMBA

Just like Kaweesi, he had just been recruited from KCCA and played his heart out in the Villa defence. He passed away on November 5, 2009.

GEORGE OTTO

He was a serving soldier who joined the club in 1986. He played all the tournament games as a sweeper. In 1989, he returned to army side Resistance FC before he relocated to the UK.

TWAHA KIVUMBI

The industrious midfielder featured in three games at the tournament. He left the club in 1992 and is currently based in Canada.

SAM MUBIRU

His mobility in the midfield was one of the reasons the Jogoos were at the top of the proceedings throughout the tournament. He currently serves on the club’s executive committee.

RONALD VUBYA

The versatile player featured in all games as a forward and scored two goals in the tournament. He left the club in 1990 and relocated to the UK.

MAJID MUSISI

He played four matches in the tournament and scored two goals. He later joined the paid ranks in Europe in 1992. He died on December 13, 2005.

GODFREY KATEREGGA

He lit up the tournament with a hat-trick against Somalia’s Petroleum FC. He left the club at the end of the season to join Express. He passed away on March 13, 1999.

SULA KATO

He was the youngest Villa player and turned out to be the match winner in the final. He would later enjoy a stellar career but has struggled since retirement. He has been off the radar of late due to poor health.

SUNDAY MOKIRI

He emerged as the surprise tournament’s top scorer with four goals to his credit. He left SC Villa in 1990 and moved to Spear Motors FC. He has since passed on.

Others who did not feature prominently include Rogers Nsubuga, Joseph Dramiga (RIP), Zaidi Tibesigwa, Alex Olum (RIP) and Anacitus Serwanga (Keeper).

bzziwa@observer.ug

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