25 years after meeting in the Uganda Cup final, SC Villa and KCC FC will once again go head-to-head to decide the 2015 champion in Ntungamo this weekend.
For Villa coach Ibrahim Kirya, it will be about winning his first silverware with the Jogoos since taking over the reins in February. For his KCC counterpart, Abdallah Mubiru, it is all about redemption after a dreadful league campaign in which they finished fourth. As the two prepare to collide, here is a rundown on their three previous epic clashes in the final.
SC Villa 1-0 KCC (1983)
By the time the two teams met in November that year at Nakivubo stadium, KCC was eyeing their first-ever double after running away with the league title. To reach the final, KCC had ejected Jinja-based Tobacco and was out to cement their dominance on domestic football. Villa, on the other hand, overcame the tougher task after a hard-fought win over bitter rivals Express FC.
The major subplot to the finale rotated around KCC defectors to Villa, which included Jimmy Kirunda, Jamil Kasirye, Davis Kamoga and academy coach George Mukasa. So, there was some sort of a grudge to settle.
On its part, Villa was in the process of building a formidable team to better the feat of 1982 when they won the league title unbeaten. The recruitment of star players was also intended to show that the undefeated record wasn’t a flash in the pan.
When the two teams met in the league, SC Villa won the first round encounter 2-1 but KCC took the maximum points when it mattered most; a 1-0 win late in the season that virtually dethroned Villa. So, the stage was set for final and with Fifa referee Israel Kintu in charge, there was bound to be no controversy.
KCC started the stronger of the two but failed to capitalize on Kirunda’s absence from the Villa team. The defender had walked out of the Villa camp two weeks earlier on due to disagreements with the Villa management.
Villa would finally break the deadlock late in the game when Sula Sentamu latched on a Rogers Nsubuga through pass to beat John Tebusweke in goal. The Jogoos held on for their first Uganda Cup title.
SC Villa: Jamil Kasirye (Captain), Dan Lutalo, Godffrey Kisitu,John Jumba, Paul Hasule, Moses Ndaula, Shaban Mwinda, Ronnie Vubya, Fred Serwadda, Rogers Nsubuga, Sula Sentamu, Davis Kamoga, Sam Mubiru , Sunday Mokili, George Mukasa (coach) and Eriab Kamya (Team Manager)
KCC: John Tebusweke, Yusuf Ssonko, Charles Katumba, Peter Wandyette, John Latigo, Sam Musenze (Captain),Charles Masiko, Fred Mugisha, Moses Nsereko (Coach/player), Sam Mugambe, Peter Mazinga, Frank Kyazze, Fred Kiyingi Musisi, Phillip Omondi, Godfrey Kateregga and Francis Icuma (Team Manager).
KCC 1-0 SC Villa (1987)
This time round, the roles were reversed with Villa aiming for a double. In fact, they were on a double-double mission having won the 1986 league and Uganda Cup titles. Besides, Villa had just won the Cecafa Club Championship and boasted of a who-is-who of Uganda Cranes stars.
They were overwhelming favourites to beat KCC after winning both league ties 3-1 and 2-3 respectively. On top of that, the Jogoos had whipped Express 3-1 to reach the finals while KCC labored to a sluggish 1-0 victory over Uganda Airlines FC.
KCC matters hadn’t been helped by the forceful departure of coach Moses Nsereko, who had quit earlier in the year and passed the baton to coach/players John Latigo and Tom Lwanga.
When push came to shove, it was KCC that took control of the game and deservedly took the lead on 38 minutes when Joseph Mulego’s cross was met by Frank Kyazze’s powerful header that gave Edward Nassamba no chance.
However, KCC goalie Paul Ssali pulled off several spectacular saves to deny Villa strikers as KCC clung on until referee Nathan Wasswa Kiberu blew the final whistle. Culture, Youth and Sports minister Stanislaus Okurut handed over the trophy to KCC skipper Charles Masiko and moments later, gave the league trophy to Villa skipper Paul Hasule.
KCC: Paul Ssali, Hannington Semazzi, Charles Masiko (Captain), Tom Lwanga (coach/player), John Latigo (coach/player), Julius Kibuuka, George Nsimbe, Sam Ssimbwa, Joseph Sekitto, Frank Kyazze, Phillip Omondi, Joseph Mulego and Gideon Karyoko (Team Manager)
SC Villa: Edward Nassamba, Yusuf Ssonko, Geoffrey Higenyi, Paul Hasule (Captain), George Otto, Sula Kato, Ronald Vubya, Twaha Kivumbi, Magid Musisi, Godfrey Kateregga, Alex Olum, Sunday Mokili, Polly Ouma (coach) and Eriab Kamya (Team Manager)
KCC 3-0 SC Villa (1990)
Few fans will forget the chilly Wednesday of October 10, 1990 when KCC and SC Villa met at Nakivubo for the final. As usual, KCC were the underdogs due to the fact that Villa had sealed off the doubles in 1988 and 1989 in supreme fashion. This Villa was becoming untouchable by Ugandan standards.
In essence, they were aiming for a fourth double whereas KCC wanted to extend their impressive record in this event, which they had won a record five times compared to SC Villa’s three. On paper, Villa presented a more formidable lineup than KCC, with all departments manned by reliable veterans or upcoming youths.
A lot had changed since the 1987 final and SC Villa had replaced Otto, Joseph Dramiga and goalie Nassamba with stylish Stephen Bogere, sweeper Raymond Luganda and youthful keeper Charles Ssimbwa. Meanwhile, many of KCC’s veterans had called it a day and they had embraced free-scoring Issa Sekatawa, Godfrey Serunyigo and Cranes goalies Bright Dhaira and Sadiq Wassa.
The two teams shared spoils in the first league game but KCC won 3-1 in the second round. Come D-day, there was an aura of tension that also sucked in chief guest John Ssebaana Kizito, who was the minister of Housing and Urban Development.
But just two minutes into the game, KCC got the lead through a header by skipper Masiko. This seemed to unsettle Villa players as they lost cohesion and a few minutes to recess, Jackson Mayanja volleyed home KCC’s second.
Midway through the second half, Villa had run out of ideas and in one off-the-ball incident, Bogere shoved Sekatawa’s face and referee Ajab Waiswa wasted no time to show him marching orders. Moments later, Sekatawa put results beyond doubt with a screamer on the edge of the box for KCC to win its sixth Uganda cup title.
KCC: Bright Dhaira, Moses Senkubuge, Charles Masiko, Derrick Muyanja, David Kavule, Charles Senyange, Sam Ssimbwa, George Nsimbe, Jackson Mayanja, Issa Sekatawa, Godfrey Serunyigo, Yusuf Gitta, Tom Lwanga (Coach) and Abdurrahman Hippo (Team Manager)
SC Villa: Charles Ssimbwa, Paul Hasule (Captain), William Nkemba, Raymond Luganda, Magid Musisi, Adam Semugabi, Sula Kato, Robert Semakula, Stephen Bogere, Twaha Kivumbi, Sunday Mokili, Zaidi Tebesigwa, Geoff Hudson (Coach) and Eriab Kamya (Team Manager)
The author is operations director of The Observer Media Ltd.