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Uganda football transfers now calmer than in the 90s

By Michael Nsubuga

Added 18th August 2020 10:06 PM

In the 90s, it had become a tradition for KCC FC and SC Villa to be engaged in fierce battles over players at the beginning of every season, with KCC almost acting as a nursery for Villa.

Uganda football transfers now calmer than in the 90s

In the 90s, it had become a tradition for KCC FC and SC Villa to be engaged in fierce battles over players at the beginning of every season, with KCC almost acting as a nursery for Villa.

For the past few seasons, KCCA FC has without any hustle signed players from Sc Villa. 

Players like Yasin Mugabi, Simon Sserunkuma, Herman Wasswa, Steven Bengo, Allan Kyambadde, Erisa Ssekisambu, Bernard Muwanga, and more recently Nicholas Kasozi, and Charles Lwanga have switched normally from SC Villa to Lugogo. 

Even players from other teams are currently sealing different deals with different clubs without much complaint like in the past whose transfers were equated to ‘poaching'.

In the 90s, it had become a tradition for KCC FC and SC Villa to be engaged in fierce battles over players at the beginning of every season, with KCC almost acting as a nursery for Villa.

Having dominated the football scene from the 70's Villa battled hard to ensure they enjoy dominance of their own and one of the ways to achieve that was to weaken their main rival each passing year.

The exodus of KCC players to Villa started in 1981with Jimmy Kirunda. He was followed the next season by Davis Kamoga, Stephen Mpagi, and Jamil Kasirye. In 1984-85 Yusuf Ssonko and Godfrey Kateregga followed, with attempts to take John Latigo only thwarted somehow by KCC.

But later in 1986 Villa grabbed Charles Katumba and John Kaweesi and in several attempts tried to woo KCC's playmaker Jackson Mayanja in vain until he left for a professional stint in Egypt. 

Even the late Villa president Patrick Kawooya's brand new Tata lorry full of Matooke offer to Mayanja's father could not convince him to change loyalties because he felt ‘a sense of belonging to KCC FC'.

Such moves always angered KCC fans and supporters with many of them declaring ‘war' against Villa accusing them of ‘using money to destroy competition'. Such was the rivalry that whenever the two sides met in a match, Nakivubo would fill up 

Probably the biggest battle between the two sides involved St. Henry's College Kitovu student player Sam Mukasa. Both clubs laid claim on Mukasa based on the National Football League regulation that if a club sponsored a player by paying his school fees then the club was entitled to the services of the player for at least three years from the date the player leaves school.

The said club was free to register such a player for a student license as provided by the league regulation. Villa based their claim for Mukasa on the basis that they had paid his fees for the last term while KCC had paid for the previous two terms in 1990.

KCC that was paying fees for two other players at the school had delayed paying for the third term and Villa tried to use that loophole to land the burly striker with the help of Rev. Father Ryan who was in charge of the student players at the school then.

The National Football League Committee upheld KCC FC's claim regarding the payment of the fees and rejected Villa's application to have Mukasa play for them. But despite the ruling, the wrangle persisted, and not even other tactics like threatening court action could move the NFL or KCC FC. 

In the end, Mukasa remained in the cold for a whole season with egoistic officials from Villa failing to take the advice of ‘peace talks ‘from the NFL with KCC FC officials who were also stuck in their corner with ‘victory' in the case.

The NFL later issued Mukasa a license to play for a club of his choice but he left for the US for further studies after a few appearances for Villa; instead, players like Derrick Muyanja enjoyed a successful spell with KCC FC.

In the late 90s, stories of key players being hidden from rival clubs were rife whenever the transfer season approached.

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