The recently- departed Darius Mugoye, who served for a decade as Fufa vice president, was one of the shrewdest figures in football.
What many may not know is that football administration is a game of its own, where you have to identify allies and foes and the in-between. Whereas Moses Magogo built his Fufa around praise singers and barking dogs, he tactically ensured Mugoye is close to him in order for the latter to do sensitive errands.
Mugoye is one person who always let his work do the talking. Anyone who knows Fufa dealings knows that Mugoye was a key strategist and the central figure in planning and execution, especially when it came to keeping delegates happy.
In fact, it can be argued that he was the glue that kept Moses Magogo’s Fufa intact by mostly being able to reach out to everyone, regardless of the side of the fence. He cut a figure of someone who didn’t care much but, behind the scenes, Mugoye was a very resourceful person.
The balancing act he always played had many people misunderstand him but I greatly admired him for reaching out every time he thought I went over- board criticizing Fufa. Never at any time did he use confrontational language but, instead, he preached a spirit of togetherness.
A few weeks ago, I met Mugoye at Front Page hotel in Namasuba for something totally different from football. He looked a little tired and frail but hadn’t lost any of his demeanor and humour. After a few drinks, he intimated to me about his frustrations with the ongoing preparations to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2027.
Without going into detail, he said “something needs to be done quickly or else we will be behind schedule.”
On a personal note, I loved his simple life as always hated showing off. This explains why he seamlessly mixed and mingled with omuntu wawansi and never hesitated to join them for a bite or drink.
Yet amidst all this, he was a quiet and soft-spoken person. I will miss his humour, subtle approach to issues and the class act to accept criticism.
He had his own grievances with the way football is run but he always preferred to look at the brighter side of things, never to come out to challenge the status quo.
That attribute not only explains why he was scandal-free in a scandal-ridden Fufa executive, but also his long stay on the Fufa executive.
The author is SC Villa president emeritus