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The most iconic nicknames in Ugandan football (Part II)

Hassan Mubiru (L) celebrates with James Odoch in 1999 during his spell at SC Villa

Hassan Mubiru (L) celebrates with James Odoch in 1999 during his spell at SC Villa

While some players’ nicknames such as Emperor and Lord exuded class, others like Commando and Iron Man made opponents wondering what they were doing getting into the field with them. Here is the second and last part of ten of the most-fitting nicknames.

Ashe Mukasa Sendawula: LORD

Soft-spoken Mukasa was a typical left-footer whose lifestyle on and off the pitch was characterised by neatness; he was stylish in every sense.

In spite of being a defender, he hated rough play and often used his brain instead of physical attributed. So good he was that he was picked as the best left-back at the 1976 Afcon. His career lasted from 1970 to 1979.

Jimmy Kirunda: KAISER (EMPEROR)

In the annals of Ugandan football history, no name resonates with more versatility and leadership than Kirunda. Across his illustrious 20-year career, Kirunda left an indelible mark as the most complete player the nation has witnessed.

Primarily a sweeper, Kirunda defied positional constraints, excelling in every role on the pitch. His remarkable journey took him through the top clubs of Uganda; Express, KCCA and SC Villa.

Sports scribes likened his influence to the game to that of former German legend Franz Beckenbauer and fittingly tagged him der Kaiser (the Emperor).

His career stretched from 1968 to 1985.

Andrew Mukasa: FIMBO

Andrew Mukasa exploded onto the scene with SC Villa in 1997, and went on to set an unmatched record of scoring the highest number of goals in a single season.

The lanky striker eclipsed Kirunda’s 22-year record of 32 goals and set his own record of 45 goals during the 1999 season. Mukasa’s goalscoring spree excited fans who nicknamed him ‘Fimbo’, a Swahili word that means a cane. His career stretched from 1997 to 2003.

Paul Ssali: COMMANDO

Forget about his hot head, which earned him two red cards in the 1986 season. Ssali was a rock for Uganda Cranes and one of the best Uganda goalkeepers ever while featuring for Simba FC and later KCC.

He is remembered for his exploits during the 1978 Afcon, where Uganda lost to hosts Ghana in the final. Ssali was a trained soldier, and he was brave and an expert at blocking spot-kicks, and thus fans tagged him `Commando’. His career stretched from 1972 to 1987.

Mike Kiganda: COMPUTER

He was Express FC’s midfield enforcer during the club’s golden era in the 1970s and was also an assured starter for the legendary Cranes side that finished runners-up at the 1978 Nations Cup.

The diminutive player was renowned for his creativity, speed, and technical ability. He was a superb interceptor and passer but whereas teammates and fans always wanted him to clear the ball for safety,

Kiganda would always go for his own defence-splitting pass. Because of the special craft, Express fans tagged him ‘Computer.’ He had a career that stretched from 1971 to 1984.

Ronald Vubya: SNIPER

Renowned for his incredible power and set-piece mastery, Vubya is undoubtedly one of the greatest Ugandan attacking midfielders. He helped the Villa Park side to win seven league titles, four Uganda Cup trophies and one Cecafa Cup title.

His scoring abilities, versatility and long-range shots prompted sports journalists to tag him Sniper. His career stretched from 1981 to 1990.

Hassan Mubiru: FIGO

Mubiru’s career was marked by longevity and consistency across a 14-year spell and is the top-flight domestic league’s all-time top goal scorer. He had an excellent presence in the box and the ability to score crucial goals, which made him a beloved figure wherever he went.  

He was a darling at SC Villa, where he scored more 55 goals. When he secured a lucrative Shs 10m transfer deal to Express FC in 2001, excited Red Eagles fans tagged him Figo in relation to that of Luis Figo, who had just swapped Barcelona for Real Madrid. His career stretched from 1996 to 2008.

Frank Kyazze: LIVEWIRE

Kyazze was regarded as one of the best Ugandan strikers in his era and won the golden boot twice. However, he was forced to hang up his boots at just 27 years due to a knee injury.

The afro-haired striker was unstoppable during his prime, guiding KCC FC to the 1983 and 1985 league titles, plus the 1984 and 1987 Uganda Cup trophies. KCC fans idolised him and thus nick- named him Livewire; others preferred to call him Kaweewo. His career lasted from 1980 to 1988.

Isaac Nkaada: IRONMAN

Nkaada was a key figure in Express FC’s ‘resurrection’ following the infamous ban in the late 1970s. He was a hard-tackling, robust defender, whose leadership and resilience made him a fan’s favourite at Wembley. They quickly nicknamed him ‘Ironman’. He had a career that stretched from 1981 to 1993.

Obadiah Semakula: MUSANVU W’EGGWANGA

He was a cult hero and was loved at the Bugolobi-based Coffee FC. The talkative right winger caused all sorts of problems for his markers, where he emerged as chief assist creator.

He was adored by fans, who declared him ‘Musanvu W’eggwanga,’ a tag he called himself wherever he got the opportunity to introduce himself. His career lasted from 1978 to 1998.

bzziwa@observer.ug

Comments

0 #1 Dun 2024-07-05 16:46
Thanks old man, Hassan Zziwa. I have only read Part II. I dont know whether part I covered my little friend Hakim Magumba (Boda Boda), Dan Mubiru (mu Japan), Paul Hasule (V8), etc
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