Since 2010, ten years are now behind us and we can now reflect on what has been arguably Uganda’s best sports decade. Forget the 1970s.
It’s not that easy to summarise the work of ten years into one post, but we have done our best to pick out the most outstanding moments that have seen Uganda’s flag raised aloft.
The champions have been made, records have been broken while dreams have been achieved.
Spoiler alert: Moses Kipsiro narrowly misses out. That’s how tight it has been.
Also read – Ten top football stories of 2019
She Cranes Reach 2015 World Cup
On September 18, 2014, Uganda’s Netball team, the She Cranes, qualified to the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney, Australia.
Despite the financial constraints, the team led by Peace Proscovia beat Swaziland to make it four straight wins from as many games to seal their place at the world event for the second time after the 1979 World cup in Trinidad and Tobago.
The She Cranes had left the country with only Sh600,000 but managed to leave everything on court to win the qualification championship held in Gaborone, Botswana.
Uganda has repeated the heroics again when they played in the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool, England.
Onyango Best In Africa
On January 5, 2017, Uganda Cranes and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Masinde Onyango was voted the 2016 African-based African Player of the year at the CAF Awards held in Nigeria.
Onyango has had great achievements in the decade, but taking the gong ahead of Zimbabwean striker Khama Billiat and Zambia’s Rainford Kalaba stands out.
In the considered period, Onyango helped Uganda qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after 39-years of waiting.
Controversially, Shaban Mohammed was voted as the best in the country at the local awards – Airtel FUFA Awards.
Moses Golola – The Hot Temper
Few will agree that Kickboxing in Uganda started way back in 1993.
It’s Golola Moses who singlehandedly brought the sport to everyone when he beat South Sudan’s Abdul Rahim on July 1, 2011 at Hotel Africana.
He later, controversially, beat Hungarian Andres Nagy on December 9, 2011 and has never looked back. He’s arguably the best known sportsman in Uganda for the last decade.
His words, “pocketing while naked, hot temper, looking at a woman and get pregnant,” have become house hold names when referring to the Golola.
On August 31, 2013, he beat UPDF’s Titus Tugume just in split seconds at Freedom City, despite all the promises Tugume had made in the build up to the fight, that were highlighted by buying a coffin where he will bury Golola.
He has beaten Abu Kikenwa among others, but lost to Mate Szamboki and Umar Ssemata, the latter becoming the first Ugandan to do so, but Golola won the rematch in 2019.
Cheptegei, Nakaayi Golds At Worlds
Uganda athletes Joshua Cheptegei and Halima Nakaayi scooped gold each at the 2019 IAAF World Championship at Doha.
Prior to the event, Uganda had won six medals (two gold) at the world meet.
Cheptegei clocked 26:48.36 to win the 10,000M and becomes the first Ugandan to win a Men’s track title. He had also finished second in 2017 behind England’s Mo Farah.
Nakaayi won the 800m title in 1:58.04 with her country mate Winnie Nanyondo occupying 4th in 1:59.18.
Silverbacks Qualify To 2015 Afrobasket
Uganda’s senior men national basketball team, the Silverbacks, qualified to the 2015 Afrobasket in Tunisia after finishing second behind Egypt in the 2014 Zone five held in Kampala.
This was the first time, a men’s team qualified at the event, an equivalent of Africa Cup of Nations in Football.
Uganda, to achieve the fate, had to beat Kenya 83-71 thanks to Ivan Lumanyika’s 15 points and 11 rebounds – who was later dropped to the team going to Tunisia. Uganda ended Rwanda’s dominance who had qualified from zone five for the last four attempts.
Uganda lost to Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria and Central Africa Republic before beating Zimbabwea in a placement game in Tunisia. The team returned to Afrobasket in 2017.
KCCA Earn Champions League Ticket
On 17th March 2018, KCCA picked their needed win against Ethiopia’s St George at Lugogo to take a 1-0 aggregate victory and qualify to the lucrative champions league groups.
Shaban Mohammed’s header at restart was all that KCCA needed to become the first Ugandan club to achieve the milestone.
Lukwago, Awany, Okot, Kavuma, Okello, Kirabira, Kizza, Mucureezi, Mutyaba, Shaban, Nsibambi were the starters on the day for the Garbage Collectors.
KCCA had come close against South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns but Liberian forward Anthony Lafor levelled to cancel out Geoffrey Sserunkuma’s goal in 2017.
Lady Cricket Cranes Africa Champions
The sport, in the decade, has received some of the biggest disappointments after mixed performances at various categories including a relegation to division four for the men in 2017.
Uganda’s women Cricket team, the Lady Cricket Cranes were however crowned Africa T20 champions after beating Zimbabwe in the final in 2017.
Zimbabwe, who had beaten Uganda at an earlier stage in the groups, set 100 but Gertrude ‘Chandy’ Chandiru who had picked three wickets (3-14), scored an unbeaten 23 runs to help Uganda win by three wickets with three balls and as many wickets to spare.
Coached by Grace Mutyagaba, the team that comprised of among others Franklin Najjumba, Rita Musamali, Immaculate Nakisuuyi, Stella Nampiina, Kevin Awino, Rachel Ntono, qualified to world global qualifiers after the triumph in Windhoek, Namibia.
Uganda Reach Rugby Sevens World Cup
Uganda defended the Africa 7s title and qualified for their maiden Rugby Sevens World Cup.
Uganda had beaten Namibia to win the title in 2016 in Kenya but winning it again, and on home soil was priceless.
With everyone at the edge of their seat, Adrian Kasiito grabbed a late try as Uganda rallied from down to win 10-7 against Zimbabwe in the final at Legends.
At the World Cup, Uganda finished 19th at the tourney held at AT&T Park in San Francisco, which was won by New Zealand.
Uganda Cranes Reach AFCON Since 1978
On September 4, 2016, Farouk Miya scored the lone goal as Uganda Cranes beat Comoros at Namboole to qualify for Africa cup of nations for the first time since 1978.
I remember the day vividly, and the starting lineup coach Micho of Onyango, Wadada, Isinde, Jjuuko, Ochaya, Mawejje, Aucho, Miya, Oloya, Massa and Luwagga that coach Micho used.
After days of coming close, including a heartbreaking goalless draw against Kenya, Miya scored in the 35th minute thanks to Moses Oloya’s assist.
Uganda never won a single match in the Gabon 2017 AFCON but many Ugandans who watched their boys on TV, felt a sense of belonging, at least ending those days of supporting Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal among others during an AFCON tourney.
Stephen Kiprotich Bags Olympic Gold
August 12, 2012 is another historical day in Ugandan sports.
Kapchorwa-born Kiprotich defied the odds to clinch a Marathon gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
The long distance runner beat Kenyan pair Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang before clocking 2:08:01. This, was the first Olympic gold medal for Uganda after a period of 40 years since John Akii-bua triumphed in Munich 1972 in the 400M hurdles.
He was given a heroes welcome on return to Kampala, and could later repeat the fate with another gold at the World Championships the following year.