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Dear Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Express FC badly needs you at this pressing time

Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka

Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka

Just about six years ago, Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka took over the reins at Express FC.

In many ways, it was the fulfilment of a generational honour that was made famous by his grandfather and club founder, Joseph ‘Jolly Joe’ Kiwanuka. Indeed, Kiryowa’s reign had the Red Eagles win the 2021 league title, albeit in the boardroom, but it heralded the start of a new era of silverware contention.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case, and Express has slid back to mediocrity since the time of Kiryowa’s cabinet appointment. He has barely got time to attend to club matters due to his busy schedule, but it is high time he returns to Wankulukuku to mitigate the situation before it gets worse, especially when perennial rivals SC Villa and KCCA FC have regrouped to emerge as silverware contenders.

Ugandan football needs strong SC Villa, KCCA, and Express teams to remain relevant, especially in this era when most youths are addicted to European football. So, to understand the task at hand for Kiryowa, one needs to delve into the club’s history and the famous people who left an indelible mark.

Personally, the names of Jolly Joe and Patrick Kawooya are some of the biggest inspirations in my football administration journey. As an astute businessman, Jolly Joe defied several odds to spearhead the start of Express FC from scratch 65 years ago. The hands-on Jolly Joe not only operated as the club’s visionary; he was also the chairman and coach.

By the time he was murdered in 1973, Express had not won much silverware, but the solid foundation he built for the club enabled it to outlive him. Forward thinker!

On the other hand, the exuberant Kawooya was just 23 years old when he was elected Express FC treasurer in the late seventies and went on to become the driving force behind SC Villa’s golden years of the eighties and early nineties.

Kawooya had many flaws, but even his biggest critics admit that his decisiveness was no match for anyone in his era. In many ways, this is a reminder for Kiryowa that his presence means a lot for the club.

In my days as SC Villa president between 2014 and 2018, we barely won a game when I was absent on match day. The morale of players always depended on the assurance of match-day winning bonuses; the same was true of fans, who always cherished having an interface with the club leadership.

To make amends, I always had to sacrifice several business trips to be in attendance and boost the boost the morale of the Villa team. All this comes at a personal cost, but it is something every football enthusiast should be aware of.

I am glad Hajji Omar Ahmed Mandela has been an ever-present figure at Villa matches, something that has greatly raised the morale of the whole team. It is this presence that the league needs from Kiryowa to provide assurance to the Express faithful that the club is on the right path.

These stories of Express players going months without pay would quickly be addressed if Kiryowa was available. I believe it is not too late for Kiryowa to fully bounce back at Express and lead its revival. He has the class, aura, and acumen to make it happen. The ball is in his court.

The author is SC Villa president emeritus

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