Standing, L-R: George Sserunjogi: He was the team’s defensive kingpin. He could play as a right-back and central defender. He started his career at City Cubs, a feeder club for KCC in the late 70s. He later played for KCC before joining Express, from where Coffee got him. He is currently working with the United Nations.
Mathias Kaweesa: The marauding forward that Coffee built its attacks around. He was signed from Nsambya in 1987. Kaweesa’s runs and never-say-die attitude reaped dividends for Coffee and the Uganda Cranes. He is the only player to lead the local league scorers’ chats for three different clubs: Nsambya in 1988, Coffee in 1991 and SC Villa in 1993.
He also played for a host of clubs in Rwanda and Oman. He is currently based in Kampala leading a quiet life. He still trains with the Ex-Internationals every Wednesday and Saturday at Nakivubo.
John Mapeera (RIP): A gangly defendermidfielder, he made his name at Lufula FC before joining Coffee in 1984. He also played for KCC. He passed on in the mid 90s.
Obadiah Ssemakula: A diminutive right-sided winger that relied on scorching pace. His quick feet and ability to weigh in accurate crosses earned him the Musanvu w’eggwanga nickname.
He joined Coffee in 1979 from Nateete and became one of their most important players. He also played for Cranes from 1982 until the late 1980s. Currently, he works with Peacock Paints.
Moses Basena: Joined from Buikwe Red Stars. A tall and commanding figure in the heart of midfield, Basena could also play as a right back. He went on to play for Villa and is one of the most respected local coaches, having handled URA FC, KCC, Villa, among others.
Basena holds a Caf A coaching license and was also Laszlo Czaba’s assistant in the Cranes dugout, a position he currently holds under Micho Sredojevic.
Richard Makumbi: Respected for his versatility, Makumbi could play wherever deployed by the coach both in club and national team colors. He joined Coffee from Nile FC. In fact, in the match against Mwanza FC, he played as a goalkeeper, following injuries to Kajoba and Ssentongo. Coffee won 3-1. His nomadism trait on the pitch has also followed him in his coaching career. He has coached more than 10 clubs and managed to earn most of them promotion to the top tier. Currently coaching Entebbe FC.
Fred Kajoba: As a student at Lubiri S.S, his reflexes caught the eye of Pepsi FC officials, who snatched him before selling him to Coffee. At Coffee, he was named vice-captain. In 1994, he went to Oman for semi-professional football and returned when the team was performing poorly. He failed to save it from relegation and joined army side Simba SC.
He coached Simba for five years until two seasons ago when he joined Bright Stars FC. He is also the Uganda Cranes goalkeeping coach.
Richard Mugalu: He joined from Express in 1981 and spent more than a decade at Coffee. His teammates nicknamed him slow motion because of his slow but calculated style of play at left back. “He was very slow at tracking back but we knew this weakness and always stood in for him,” says Makumbi. Mugalu is a businessman in Mukono.
Middle row Eric Onyait: He joined Coffee from Naggalama. A short defender but good in the air, he was Sserunjogi’s understudy most of the time. He is leading a quiet life in Naggalama.
Asuman Kabuye: A decent right-sided winger, he joined from Makindye-Lukuli but found it tough to start ahead of Ssemakula. However, when Joseph Kabundi took over from Mwesiga, Kabuye flourished because Ssemakula had been shifted to the frontline. He is currently a pick-up driver at Nakasero Market.
Ronald Nkoyooyo: According to Buwembo, Nkoyooyo is one of the best midfielders he has ever seen. He joined from Buikwe Red Stars and could play both deep and offensive midfield, as well as the left wing. Good at winning possession and had a strong tackle, which sometimes put him ahead of Basena in the pecking order. He currently works as a law enforcement officer at Ham Shopping Mall near Nakivubo Market.
Ibrahim Buwembo: He was the team captain. His career started at State House and then joined Express as Fred ‘Gaso’ Mukasa’s heir. However, things did not go well and he moved on to Coffee.
Surprisingly, it is Patrick ‘Uncle’ Kiwanuka that took him to Coffee. “KCC wanted me but ‘Uncle’ Kiwanuka told them off. He was a family friend and wanted me to play my football at a club that would promote my talent, and that was Coffee,” says Buwembo. A left winger whose scintillating pace enabled him to beat defenders in a blink of an eye, Buwembo was the classic number 11.
His pinpoint crosses enabled the likes of Kaweesa to find the back of the net with ease. However, Buwembo wasn’t so effective at helping out defensively, which he defends: “The best players in a team don’t have to work hard. I was the team’s best player, so my teammates had to work harder,” he laughs. To many, Buwembo is an ‘agent’ who connects players to the Far East because of his contacts there.
He is also a director at M.I Sports Ventures. Be sure to catch him at the Ex-Internationals’ training at Nakivubo on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Sam Sserunkuma: He was the team’s dependable right back that could also play in the center of defense and left-back. He once captained Coffee and is currently a politician in Bugerere.
Moses Kasiita (RIP): He joined from Villa. He was the team’s central midfield heartbeat, combining elegance with a sharp eye for a killer pass. Buwembo and Makumbi compare his game to that of Fred Tamale. Kasiita died in mid 90s.
John Oyet: He joined from Maroons. A box-to-box player that could thrive across the midfield and the frontline.
“What I can tell you about him is that he had the defensive power of Michael Essien and shooting ability of Frank Lampard. He was a tireless player,” says Makumbi. Oyet currently works with Diary Development Authority.
Front row Paul ‘Ninja’ Ssentongo: An acrobatic goalkeeper that combined brains and hard work, he was the first choice in the late 1980s and also gave Kajoba a run for his money. He passed on in 1992.
SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR