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Stars who defied logic to their fiercest rivals

Hassan Mubiru (L) in action for SC Villa

Hassan Mubiru (L) in action for SC Villa

It is common in football clubs to have players who are affectionally idolized and given special treatment regardless of their contribution on the field.

However, in a blink of an eye, they defy logic to not only leave, but also join the fiercest rival clubs. And the love often turns to hate. In Uganda, it happened mostly amongst the traditional giants [SC Villa, Express and KCCA] where transfers almost turn bloody. Here is a look at some of the most controversial transfers.


Over a 10-year spell at Lugogo, Jimmy Kirunda helped KCCA win five major titles. It was also at KCCA FC when he emerged the 1978 league top-scorer with a then record 32 goals. He was an idol.

However, the towering player crossed to arch-rivals SC Villa in 1982. This move sent chills in spines of KCCA faithful, who called him a ‘traitor’. His return to KCCA in 1984 was not enough to convince the fans who kept on questioning his loyalty.


Mubiru was instrumental in the all-conquering SC Villa which won five major titles in a row (1998, 1999 and 2000). However, his decision to join the fierce rivals Express FC in 2001 left many football enthusiasts bewildered.

However, that didn’t stop Mubiru from shining, and he scored a brace in the Uganda Cup final in which Express defeated SC Villa 3-1.


Nicknamed Super Star because of his superb football skills and charming character, he guided KCCA to numerous major titles (1979-1984).

But the winger shocked the Yellows when he moved to SC Villa in 1985. KCCA delayed the move for six months as they cited several rule breaches but the temperamental player played hardball until Fufa released him for SC Villa unconditionally.


By 1996, Obwin had developed into Express’ most dependable player. But that’s also the time he chose to move SC Villa. Express officials blocked the move based on the rules governing local football at the time. The two clubs engaged in negotiations but failed to reach the compromise.

After six months, Fufa joined in and convinced Express to accept SC Villa’s Shs 6m offer before Obwin was released.


After KCCA blocked his move to Express in 1984, Katumba decided to join SC Villa in 1987 alongside KCCA’s youthful John Kaweesi. As expected, KCCA yet again blocked the move on grounds that the two players were ineligible to leave.

Fufa also backed KCCA but after few months with the two players out in the cold, Sports minister Stanislaus Okurut intervened and cleared both players to play for SC Villa.


In 2001, tit for tat came into play when SC Villa avenged Express’ signing of Hassan Mubiru by persuading the Red Eagles’ most valuable player in Mourice Sunguti in 2001.

The Kenyan import, who had had mixed fortunes at Wankulukuku, did not hesitate to sign SC Villa papers. He transferred his Express form and scored goals for fun at the Villa Park.


The sweeper came through the club ranks at KCCA to become one of the best defenders in the country. So, his transfer request to join Express in 1983 was seen by KCCA faithful as a form of betrayal.

Obviously, the eventual move angered KCCA, which in turn invaded the Express camp and signed both Billy Mabirizi and Joseph Mulego. Serunjogi tried to return to KCCA in 1984 but he didn’t get a warm welcome and he returned to Express the same year.


He enjoyed a cult following while at Jinja-based Nytil FC but just when he was approaching his peak in 1982, Sekatawa angered the club’s faithful when it was announced he was joining Express FC. In fact, the Red Eagles gave Sekatawa Shs 100,000 as sign-on fee.

The free-scoring striker hit the ground running and emerged the league top scorer for two seasons in a row (1982 and 1983).


In 1991, the Express FC skipper handed in a transfer request to join SC Villa but that was met with resistance from his bosses, who swore not to let him go. It took several months of negotiations before the midfielder was released to join the Villa Park side.


Just recently in June, 2020, the versatile defender announced his departure from Express to Vipers, a move which Express blocked.

The Red Eagles cited a three-year contract the player had signed worth Shs 25m and he had already pocketed Shs 15m. During protracted negotiations spearheaded by Fufa, it was agreed that Galiwango pay back the money before his move to the Venoms was confirmed.


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