After a painful 12 years of waiting, this team defied a poor start to the tournament and lifted the Cecafa after defeating Malawi on penalties in 1989. Navigator Dzikambane opened the scores for Malawi in the 5th minute before Cranes captain Paul Hasule’s equalizer.
Young Chimodzi’s double made it 3-1 but Ronnie Vvubya pulled one back for Cranes. Halftime score read Malawi 3-2 Uganda. Vvubya would later walk off injured and coach Polly Ouma brought on Sula Kato, who fired in the equalizer in the 85th minute, forcing the game into a goalless extra time.
George Waya saved William Nkemba and Kato’s penalties while Uganda’s Sadiq Wassa saved from Felix Nyirongo and Chidmozi and another Malawian kicked over the bar. Magid Musisi and Richard Mugalu scored for Uganda to win 2-1. Only Joseph Maulidi scored for Malawi.
Sadiq Wassa (KCC): Uganda’s savior in this match. After an unimpressive display in the 90 minutes, he composed himself and saved three penalties to deny Malawi. In his heyday, Wassa featured for Scoul FC and Nile FC in the early 1980s.
In the 1988 local season, he saved eight penalties and got voted Uspa footballer of the year. His Cranes debut came in the 1988 Cecafa tournament in Malawi and before long, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali signed him for KCC. Wassa guided the Cranes to the 1989 Kuwait Peace Games finals, losing to Iraq. In 1990, he saved two penalties against Tanzania in the semi-finals and Uganda defended the trophy.
In 1992, he saved a penalty in the semis against Zambia. Uganda won the trophy again. He retired from Cranes in 1996. He won two league titles and two Uganda Cup titles. Currently, he the goalkeeping coach at URA FC. He also coaches Freelanders FC, a loose team of corporates.
Steven Bogere (SC Villa): The team’s brain and arguably one of the Cranes’ best midfielders, ever. Bogere joined The Cranes at a time when Phillip Omondi was nearing retirement. He also had to compete with the other veterans Moses Nsereko and Mike Kiganda whom he dislodged.
His football journey started at Garments FC, Steel Rolling Mills and Grain Millers until his big break at Tobacco FC where SC Villa recruited him in 1987 to become their undisputed creative force. After Villa, he played for Spear Motors and Nile FC but returned in late 1992.
He also had a stint in Oman in 1994 but returned in 1995. He briefly played for Villa International, a break-away side from SC Villa. He retired that year after guiding them to the topflight. He has handled Proline FC, SC Victoria University, SC Villa and was Kiira FC coach last season.
Ronnie Vvubya (SC Villa): Thomas Musoke, the second goalkeeper in this team, describes Vvubya as the best dribbler, passer and shooter of his time. He joined a star-studded team in 1983 from Lufula FC and made his Cranes debut in 1984. In 1985, he was the second league top scorer with 24 goals. He also scored two in the 1989 Kuwait Peace Games. In the 1989 Cecafa, he scored the second goal in the final against Malawi. He won six league titles, four Uganda Cups, one Cecafa club Championship and two Cecafa Senior Challenge trophies. He is based in England.
Isaac Nkaada (Express): Nicknamed ‘Iron Man’ for his tenacity, Nkaada made his Express debut in the mid 1980s. He was part of the Cranes team that played in the 1989 Kuwait Peace Games. After the 1989 Cecafa, he was dropped from the team. He retired in 1994 with one league trophy and three Uganda Cup titles. He currently works in a Forex bureau in Kampala.
Richard Mugalu (Coffee): Scored Uganda’s winning penalty. Mugalu is from a sporting family that includes Edward Sekisaka (former Express, UCB and Villa), Raphael Mugalu (Lint FC and UCB), Steven Sebadduka (Gomba Motors), James Ntulume (Insurance) and Godfrey Mbogo (Posta and KCC). Mugalu is also an uncle to Cranes midfielder Brian Majwega. Currently, he owns a maize milling business in Mukono.
William Nkemba (SC Villa): Nkemba missed a penalty in the final and said ‘Katonda bw’ayagadde’ (It was God’s will), to Hasule’s ire. A one club-man that played for Villa in 1984-1994, Nkemba could play anywhere in defence. He was named in the team of the tournament at both Kuwait Peace Games and Cecafa. Unfortunately, his career ended through injury in 1994. He won seven league titles, three Uganda Cup titles, one Cecafa Club Championship and two Cecafa Senior Challenge Cups. He currently works with Umeme as a Principle Safety and Services Engineer.
Sam Kabugo (Nsambya): He started out as a boxer, before breaking his jaw and swapping gloves for boots. He joined Nsambya FC in 1984 and made his Cranes debut in 1987. He also played at the Kuwait Peace Games. He won Cecafa in 1989 and 1990. In 1992, he was the Cranes when Cranes won it and retired from Cranes in 1995. He is currently into construction business.
Thomas Musoke (Airlines FC): Wassa’s understudy at both Cecafa and Kuwait Peace Games. It is believed that Wassa grew cold feet and faked an illness in the opener against Kenya. Musoke says “Sadik had played well in Kuwait. I think he didn’t want to soil his good record.
Kenya was a strong team, so he wanted to first study the tournament from outside. “With just minutes to the game, he told Ouma that he wasn’t ready. That’s how I ended up in goal.” Unfortunately, Musoke’s lone Cranes match ended in a 2-1 loss. In 1990, he joined Villa and then moved on to UCB FC before retiring in 1992. He worked as an air conditioner expert until 2010 but is currently jobless and spends most of his time at Nakivubo.
Sula Kato (SC Villa): Netted Uganda’s equalizer in the 3-3 draw but missed the first penalty. Former Cranes players Meddie Lubega, Moses Ndawula and Abbas Mulindwa (RIP) are his brothers. He joined Villa in 1983 from Masaka Union and became deadly at executing dead balls.
He made his Cranes debut in the 1988 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Malawi. In Kuwait, he set up Hasule for the equalizer against Iraq to force penalties, but he missed the decisive spot-kick as Iraq won the trophy. He retired from the Cranes in 1994. Kato won eight league titles, three Uganda Cup titles and one Cecafa Club title and three Cecafa Senior Challenge titles. As coach, he won the Uganda Cup for Victors SC in 2008 and Villa in 2010. Last season, he was the assistant coach at Soana FC.
Paul Hasule, RIP (SC Villa): The team’s captain, he is the elder brother to former Villa and Cranes defender, Geoffrey Higenyi. Hasule joined Villa in 1980 and led them to an unbeaten season in 1982. He was appointed Deputy Cranes captain in 1985 and assumed full responsibility in 1988. He scored the goal of the tournament against Iraq in the 1989 Kuwait Peace Games final.
He helped Villa reach the 1991 Africa Club Championships final and the 1992 Caf Cup final. He retired in 1993, becoming assistant coach and later full coach.
He won eight league titles, four Uganda Cup titles and a Cecafa Club Championship plus two Cecafa Senior Challenge Championships. As a coach, he led Villa to four league titles and two Uganda Cups. He also coached Cranes in 2003. He passed away on 26 April 2004.
Robert Aloro (Nsambya): His debut came against Iraq in the 1989 Kuwait Peace Games final but sadly for him, he missed a penalty. In Nairobi, he scored the third goal against Tanzania in the 3-1 semi-final victory. Aloro will long be remembered for the penalty he won against Nigeria in 1993 that Adam Ssemugabi failed to convert. He retired in 1994 with two Cecafa Senior titles, two Uganda Cups and a league crown. He co-founded Friends of Football (Fof). Currently, works with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
George Nsimbe (KCC): Good at lying deep in the Cranes midfield. He got his debut in 1988 and also played in the Kuwait Peace Games. In Nairobi, he played all matches. A nasty injury in 1992 made him a bit-part player until retirement in 1994. In 2008, Nsimbe led KCC to its first league trophy 11 in years, hence a moniker ‘Best’. He also helped Victors FC to the second round of the Caf Confederations Cup in 2011. He returned to KCC in 2012 and won back-to-back league titles. He quit in the middle of last season to coach Tanzania’s Azam FC but is now unattached.
Magid Musisi, RIP (SC Villa): He ended the tournament as top scorer with four goals. He also helped Uganda to defend it in 1990 before going to Europe for professional football at France’s Stade Rennes, Turkey’s Bursaspor and Dardanelspor. He rejoined Villa in 1999-2001 and later went to Vietnam’s SHB Ià Nong until 2004. He wound up his career at Ggaba United. He won six league titles, one Cecafa club title and three Uganda Cups. In the 1987 and 1989 Cecafa editions, he was the tournament’s top scorer. He was also league top scorer in 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1992. He passed away on December 13, 2005.
Sam Ssimbwa (KCC): By 1989, he was a starter on the right wing. He created Umar Ssenoga’s goal in the opening game against Kenya and was also on the winning sides in 1990 and 1992 before retiring in 1993.
He won the league (1991), Uganda Cup (1987, 1993 and 1999). He has coached a variety of clubs in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. He is currently at KCC as Mike Mutebi’s assistant.
Twaha Kivumbi (SC Villa): He was an important player in the SC Villa side of the 1980s, winning the Cecafa plus the cup and league double in 1988 and 1989.
He was also part of the Villa side that reached the finals of the Africa Club Championships and the Caf Cup final in 1992. He is currently in Canada.
Disan Kiggundu, Coffee (RIP): In this tournament, Kiggundu was mainly a reserve midfielder. He is deceased.