PIC: A coffin containing Matthew Lucha's remains being carried to church for the funeral service. (Credit: Bruno Mugooda)
SPORTS | LUCHA FUNERAL
Former Nytil FC goalkeeper Patrick Lukalu has called on football governing body FUFA to set up a workplan to resettle ex-footballers after their careers end.
He saw speaking at the funeral service of late football player Matthew Lucha at St. Monica Catholic Church in Walukuba on Sunday.
"Many footballers dedicated their lives to football, but earned little from it. We hope FUFA can help them live a decent life after active football, rather than die helplessly. I knew Lucha as a talented player at Nile FC, back in the day when I played rival club, NYTIL FC," he Lukalu.
Lucha, who died aged 58, started his football career at Kakira Sugar FC, then joined Nile FC in 1976 alongside Thadeo Azabo and Mike Azua, under the guidance of then Nile FC manager, Faisal Mohamed.
''Lucha was humble to everyone around him, but on the pitch, he tackled and ran tirelessly. He became a nightmare for goalkeepers because of his box to box play and long range shorts. He would run across the pitch, trying to neutralise the opposition teams from dominating the play and he hated losing a football match. He would play even if he was injured,'' his former manager Mohamed said.
During that spell, Nile FC became the first team to lift the Ugandan league title in 1980 with 59 points, beating their nearest rival, Nytil FC, by a single point.
In 1982, Lucha's industrious hard work was rewarded with a call for the national team. Despite being a combative player, he did not register a single red card at club level during his time at Nile FC
and SC Villa. The only sendoff came in a Cranes jersey in a friendly match against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa in 1982.To many , he was kind, approachable and open to everyone who came to him for.
He helped Nile FC reach the Uganda Cup final in 1992, although they lost 1-0 to Express FC.
Lucha coached school football teams before his untimely death. He will be laid to rest today (September 9, 2017) at his ancestral home at Maniwok village, Opete sub-county in Kit-gum district.