The year 2020 is fast approaching, and it’s now time for us to look back on the 2019 year in Sports. Fasten your seatbelts.
12 months done, and I can still remember it like yesterday but in bits. I can see the biggest moments pop up in flashes. That Onyango save in AFCON, Allan Okello wins an award finally, the big crowds in FUFA Drum, Fahad Bayo, Wakiso Giants storming top flight on first attempt, a certain George Ssimwogerere, Fabin Kwesi who?, Vipers changing coaches, Villa surviving relegation….. But will any of this make the top ten?
Let’s get this done, shall we? Yes, but not in particular order.
The Infamous Cranes Players’ Strike
We start on a sad note. It’s just unavoidable.
Uganda Cranes players, representing the nation in 2019 AFCON in Egypt, laid down their tools on July 12, citing unpaid arrears.
This, happened just days prior to the team’s knockout game against Senegal’s Lions of Terranga.
The team never showed up for training at the Arab Contractors stadium, choosing to stay at the club’s hotel.
The Cranes players demanded around Sh15M for the win against DR Congo, 7M and the draw against Zimbabwe, it was reported.
FIFA Bans FUFA Boss Moses Magogo
October 10 was another day of sorrow for Ugandan football, but it was celebration for a certain group of people especially the case’s whistleblower MP Allan Ssewanyana who had petitioned the world body back in May 30, 2017.
The ban was the latest of dramatic events that had seen Magogo step down days earlier during a 95th FUFA general assembly that was held in Adjumani. On the day, Magogo commented that he will be stepping aside to allow FUFA carry out investigations over the alleged sale of World Cup tickets.
FIFA, confirming his suspension, stated that Magogo had ratified a blea bargain with the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of independent ethics.
Read – Magogo Banned by FIFA
KCCA Win CECAFA Kagame Cup With Kids
You can’t win anything with kids, they said. Hold my beer, Mutebi responded, and proved doubters wrong.
Without captain Timothy Denis Awany, Patrick Kaddu and Allan Kyambadde who were with the Cranes team in Egypt, KCCA were outsiders to win CECAFA.
With a team that had teens like Samuel Kato, Sadat Anaku, Ramathan Musa among others, Mustafa Kizza’s goal proved enough as KCCA dethroned Azam in the final.
KCCA had beaten Rayon Sports and Green Eagles on quarters and Semis respectively, before winning the title for the first time since 1978 when they beat Simba SC on shootouts.
Read – KCCA End 41 Year Wait
Proline FC Win Uganda Cup, Big League And Play In Confederation
Where should I start? Ivan Bogere’s hat-trick against Masters Security, the first of its kind for any Uganda player on the continent level for a club competition!
Proline beat Wakiso Giants to win the FUFA Big League but their best time of the year came on May 25 when they recovered from down to stun Bright Stars and win the Stanbic Uganda Cup.
Coached by Shafic Bisaso, Proline eliminated Light SS, Nyamityobora, Onduparaka, Vipers and Kyetume to storm the final.
Musitafa Mujuzi scored a late penalty to cancel out Nelson Ssenkatuka’s strike to send the game to shootouts where Mujuzi, Anukani, Allan Egaku, Bogere and Hakim Kiwanuka were on target against Bright Stars who also had Aggrey Kirya sent off.
On August 10, Bogere’s hat-trick saw Proline win their first continental game on first attempt and later ousted Masters Security. They later eliminated Rwanda’s AS Kigali before falling in the hands of Al-Nasr.
Cranes Reach AFCON Knockout
The biggest of 2019. Anyone doubting?
Uganda Cranes reached the AFCON knockout – round of 16 – for the first time in 41 years.
The team achieved the feat despite suffering a 2-0 loss to hosts Egypt at Cairo International Stadium after first half goals by Mo Salah and Ahmed Elmohamedy.
However, the Cranes had picked four points earlier – a win against DR Congo and a draw off Zimbabwe. DR Congo spiced Uganda’s surge to finish second of group A when they beat Zimbabwe.
However, the team had already punched above its weight, and it was a no surprise when they lost to Senegal.
Uganda Women Win Cecafa U17 and Cosafa U17
Fauziah Najjemba, Juliet Nalukenge Daphine Nyayenga, Stella Musubika, Bira Nadunga, Shakira Nyinagahirwa, Margaret Kunihira and so on, the future of Women football is in good hands.
Coach Ayub Khalifa might have made the headlines for a bad reason also, but his achievements year in year out continue to prove his G.O.A.T status.
Read – Uganda Win Cecafa U17
Najjemba and Nalukenge were on target as Uganda beat South Africa 2-1 to lift COSAFA U17 before the duo scored in the last game of CECAFA U17 for another title.
Nalukenge was the topscorer in Cosafa with 18 goals while Fauziah was named MVP in CECAFA, and goalkeeper Nyayenga was the best shot-stopper in both tourneys.
Nalukenge is the reigning 2019 Airtel Female player of the year.
Desabre Out, Mckinstry In
Whether Uganda Cranes will have an identity or not, that will be a debate for another day. I promise.
We had Micho Sredejovich (Serbia), then came Frenchman Sebastien Desabre who helped Cranes to return to 2019 AFCON.
However, after the showpiece in Egypt, Desabre dumped the Cranes but on a good note, it had nothing to with unpaid allowances as it was the case with Micho as many suggested. It was just greener pastures – similar anyway.
The Frenchman joined Pyramids, newbies in Egypt Premier League
Boom, then came Northern Irishman Jonathan Mckinstry who had stints with Rwanda’s Amavubi stars. He notably helped Cranes win CECAFA which drives us to our next chapter below.
Local Players Secure CHAN Ticket, CECAFA Crown
What a year for the boys! Does this emphasize the development of the local league? Whatever your answer is, winning CECAFA has been Uganda’s thing and qualifying to CHAN is a habit now.
Fahad Bayo, Viane Ssekajugo and Allan Okello were on target on October 19 as Uganda Cranes team of locally based players beat Burundi 3-0 at Lugogo to seal a 6-0 aggregate win and earn a ticket to CHAN.
The Cranes, under coach Abdallah Mubiru, had eliminated Somalia at a previous round before easing past Burundi to return to CHAN for the fifth straight time.
Later on in December, coached by Mckinstry, the team went on to reclaim CECAFA senior challenge cup glory when they beat Eritrea 3-0 in the final with Bright Anukani, Mustafa Kizza and Joel Madondo for the 15th CECAFA title.
Uganda Players Sign Lucrative Deals
Big big year for the Uganda Players and this can be one of the fruits of a successful 2019 AFCON campaign. And we hope that they can live to the end of their deals.
Five players signed to Egyptian clubs, namely: Allan Kyambadde (El Gouna, Egypt), Emmanuel Okwi (Ittihad), Abdul Lumala (Pyramids), Khalid Aucho (Misr Mikassa) and Taddeo Lwanga (Tanta SC).
While others have got deals elsewhere; Patrick Henry Kaddu went to RS Berkane in Morocco, Allan Kateregga to Erbil in Iraq, Murushid Juuko to Wydad, Denis Awany to Ironi Ashdod in Israel, Azira switched to Chicago Fire in US.
Nelson Ssenkatuka who was not part of the AFCON squad joined Moghreb Tetouan in Morocco, among other deals.
Kcca Win 13th League Title
Second time KCCA appearing on the list, and for a good reason. Deserved.
KCCA FC managed to fend off resistance from rivals Vipers to win the 2018/19 StarTimes UPL league, their 13th league title
They were announced champions on April 23 when they managed to get a needed point off struggling Ndejje University FC in a one all draw. Saddam Juma picked his moment, like he has always done, off the bench to score an equaliser after Anwar Ntege had put the hosts in front at the Arena of Visions.
The draw put KCCA on 60 points, seven better than Vipers in second with two games to go. The side went on to beat Maroons 6-1 on the final day and were crowned champions with 66 points as Vipers finished second with 59 points.
Honorable Mentions –