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Veteran Uganda Cranes captain Jimmy Kirunda dies

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Added 25th May 2020 01:18 PM

Kirunda led Uganda to the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations final against Ghana, the only time Uganda has made it all the way to the final.

Veteran Uganda Cranes captain Jimmy Kirunda dies

Jimmy Kirunda (2nd-left) is seen introducing players to then Prime Minister Otema Alimadi in the early 1980s. (New Vision archive)

Kirunda led Uganda to the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations final against Ghana, the only time Uganda has made it all the way to the final.

FOOTBALL | DEATH

Former Uganda Cranes captain Jimmy Kirunda has died at the age of 70. He led Uganda to the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations final against Ghana, finishing as the losing finalists.

That is the only time Uganda has ever made it all the way to the final of the continent's biggest sporting showpiece.

Details of Kirunda's death have yet to be established, but reports indicate that he collapsed while walking in Wandegeya and died on spot.

A footballer of legendary status in Uganda's history books, Kirunda will be remembered for his dedicated football service.

He played for Express FC (1968 and 1969), KCC FC (1969 until 1979), Abu Dhabi Sports (1979 and 1980. He also had a stint at SC Villa.

He captained Uganda to three Nations Cup finals, including the memorable 1978 campaign.

After retiring from active football, Kirunda managed teams such as Villa, Bell FC, KCC,  Buikwe Red Stars and Cooperative FC.

He also coached the Uganda Cranes between from 1989 until 1996.

 immy irundaRIP Jimmy Kirunda

 

Superb defensive abilities

Like German legend Franz Beckenbauer, Kirunda was for long the dynamo that propelled the Cranes.
 
Besides his superb defensive abilities, the towering player was also outstanding in the attack. His runs deep into the opponents' area created scoring chances. No wonder he was regularly on the score sheet.

Is it, therefore, surprising that in 1978 when he played as a center forward, he was league top scorer with 32 goals?
 
His leadership skills saw become Uganda Cranes' longest-serving skipper, a role he also had with then KCC.


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