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KCC sides that stood tall

In a new three-part series, HASSAN BADRU ZZIWA in descending order lists the three best KCC outfits to capture his fancy. He also names his overall best KCC side.

1. Class of 1978

The 1978 side that won the regional CECAFA tournament perfected KCC’s style of free-flowing football (alias kawowo). All players in this side had something of a telepathic understanding.

The spellbinding football that this team played was expected since it was a side packed with national team (The Cranes) players. There was also an unbelievable depth in the squad, and this gave coach Bidandi Ssali room to rotate players at will.

Players would still deliver despite being played in unfamiliar positions: take the CECAFA final against Tanzania’s Simba FC where centre-half, Tom Lwanga was played as an anchorman. Skipper Sam Musenze, a left back, was switched to the right, paving the way for newcomer, Ashe Mukasa to play at his usual position.

Defensive midfielder Angello Dotte and attacking midfield Timothy Ayieko were relegated to the bench, and only replaced  Billy Kizito and Moses Nsereko respectively in the latter part of the final. The fact that acclaimed players like George Mukasa (keeper), Hassan Biruma, Peter Mazinga, and Ibrahim Magala could only make the bench in the final shows how strong this KCC side was.

Little wonder they became the first Ugandan club to win a regional title in January 1978. Besides reaching the quarterfinals of the Africa Club Championships, this KCC side contributed a staggering 11 players to the memorable Cranes outfit that lost the 1978 African Nations Cup final to hosts, Ghana.

However, this side also had its drawbacks. Complacency saw the side surrender the league title to Simba SC. The club also stunningly declined to play in the fabled Uganda Cup. Owing to the high competition for starting berths, talented players like Cloves Seggujja, Edward Kinobe, Chris Ddungu, Patrick Lwanga, Ashe Mukasa and Timothy Ayieko defected to other clubs in 1979.
Coach: Bidandi Ssali
Formation: 4-3-3

2. Class of 1983

KCC faced stiff competition from defending champions, SC Villa and Express FC. Both sides strengthened themselves by recruiting players from KCC’s ranks. Villa, for instance, recruited key defender Jimmy Kirunda and giant striker Davis Kamoga. Express managed to secure the services of George Serunjogi and Steven Mpagi from Lugogo.

To compound matters, Tom Lwanga was still away in United Arab Emirates. And although star striker, Phillip Omondi returned from United Arabs Emirates, it didn’t bode well for KCC that its star players like Moses Nsereko (who was a coach/player), Sam Musenze, Moses Sentamu and Hassan Biruma were moving towards retirement.

KCC, however, defied the odds building their successes around coach/player Nsereko, defender John Latigo, Fred Mugisha, Charles Katumba, Godfrey Kateregga and Sam Mugambe who featured in 29 out of the 30 games played.

The aforesaid successes included great showings in the league, Uganda Cup and Africa Cup Winners Cup. The team won the league title, lost the Uganda Cup final to Villa 1-0 and were ejected from the Africa Cup Winners Cup at the quarterfinal stage by Arab Contractors on penalties. If there was any low point to this side, it was that it frowned at emerging talents from its nursery side, City Lads — a thing which undermined the club’s performance almost for a decade.
Coach: Moses Nsereko
Formation: 4-3-3


3. Class of 1997

After not winning the league title for seven years,  coach Mike Mutebi built a team which reminded the club faithful of the olden days. Mutebi employed an unfamiliar 3-5-2 format that had them flying from the onset. Although Mutebi quit in the second-half of the season, Tom Lwanga picked up from where his predecessor left.

The star of the team was the club skipper Jackson Mayanja whose partnership with either Baker Mbowa, Godfrey Mugisha or Edward Mugisha was lethal. This was also the coming-out party of Ibrahim Sekagya who expertly marshalled the KCC rearguard. KCC not only won the league title but also reached the semifinals of the CAF Cup - the best ever continental showing by KCC.

The reserves of this team included:  Valley Musisi (keeper), Lawrence Musoke,  Godfrey Mugisha, Edward Mugisha, Augustine Barigye, Richard Kato, Michael Jjuuko, Muhammad Byansi, Misusera Katende, Edward Katamba and Obadia Semakula.
Coaches: Mike Mutebi & Tom Lwanga
Formation:  3-5-2


Best of the best: Zziwa’s best KCC XI

1. Paul Ssali: Despite his late arrival at KCC in 1982, he maintained his form and was retained as Uganda Cranes first-choice goaltender up to 1987.
2. John Latigo: An all rounder who played in most positions apart from goalkeeping. His runs on the right flank were a beauty to behold. He was also Uganda Cranes skipper from 1983-1988.

3. Sam Musenze: A versatile fullback, his slow pace didn’t stop him from stopping fast forwards. Spent 12 years at KCC, 10 of which had him wearing the captain’s armband.
4. Tom Lwanga: A stylish defender who could also play as an anchorman. Was a stalwart for KCC and The Cranes.

5. Jimmy Kirunda: Arguably the best sweeper the country has ever produced. In 1978, he set a national league record by scoring 32 goals. Record stood for 21 years.
6. Fred Mugisha: Was a crafty midfield maestro whose combination with Moses Nsereko was simply magical.
7. Peter Mazinga: A lethal winger, his runs used to leave players grounded.
8. Moses Nsereko: He could play all positions from the midfield to striking line. He won the club many titles as player and coach.

9. Davis Kamoga:  The first KCC striker to win the golden boot twice. He would send shivers in the spine of opponents.
10. Phillip Omondi: Probably the best player the country has ever produced. A soccer wizard who could do anything with the ball, his four goals made him the continent’s top scorer in 1978.
11. Godfrey Kateregga: Possessed a cultured left foot that most custodians dreaded.

Reserve team: (1) George Mukasa, (2) Charles Katumba, (3) Charles Masiko, (4) Peter Wandyette, (5) Ibrahim Sekagya, (6) Angelo Dotte, (7) Sam Ssimbwa, (8) George Nsimbe (9) Frank Kyazze, (10), Jackson Mayanja and (11) Fred Musisi

Best coach:
Bidandi Ssali
Best format: 4-3-3
Best skipper: Sam Musenze
bzziwa@observer.ug

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