Throughout the history of Ugandan football, there have been few occasions when two players have genuinely vied for the crown of the best centre forward.
The fact that one player craves that recognition, while the other appears completely indifferent to it, probably says much about the difference between legends Andrew Mukasa and Hassan Mubiru.
While on a certain forum a few days ago, a group of people asked my opinion on who was the better player between the two? I failed to have a response since all they needed was mention of a certain name. In search for a more researched opinion, i posed a similar question to my facebook timeline but still got varying opinions.
I’m not about to provide a definitive answer as to which player is the undisputed centre forward.
I will merely add fuel to the fire and maybe offer a few statistics that maybe imperative to measure the level reached, the ultimate accomplishment achieved, for one to finally have the other kneel before him.
Hassan ‘Figo’ Mubiru:
Hassan Mubiru’s ability has been discussed already on several platforms. Even the most casual observer of the game during his playing days is aware of his brilliance and the esteem he held. Many regard Mubiru as the better player.
A conclusion easily reached when put into the perspective of the achievements he helped his clubs and Uganda Cranes achieve in his prime.
Mubiru was a winner at whichever club he played football and he was not just a squad player but an important player upon which most of his clubs built success.
At SC Villa, Mubiru won two league titles (1998 & 1999) and the 1998 Uganda Cup. He also won the 1999 Hedex Cup with the Villa Park outfit.
After crossing to Express FC at the turn of the millennium, most fans thought Mubiru was destined to flop arguing that he thrived on a good combinations with Mukasa, Phillip Ssozi, Hakim Magumba and Edgar Watson at SC Villa. However, it wasn’t to be as he continued his goal scoring prowess at Wankulukuku where he won three Uganda Cup titles in 2001, 2003 and 2006. Besides, he did achieve what he had failed to achieve with SC Villa by clinching the league golden boot three times (2001, 2002 & 2003) in a row.
Even at minnows Victors SC which he joined in the ending days of his illustrious career, he won Uganda Cup in 2010.
Figo as nicknamed by Express FC fans following his surprise move from SC Villa also won two CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup crowns with Uganda Cranes in 2000 and 2003 plus the Castle Cup in 2000 where he converted the final penalty against Ghana in the shootout.
He ranks as one of the strikers to have scored 100+ league goals in super league history and statics show that by 2005, he had scored over 147 league goals, the highest by a single player in the league.
Andrew ‘Fimbo’ Mukasa:
It’s very unfortunate that Mukasa’s career was cut short by mental illness but still couldn’t be more different from Mubiru.
Mukasa was a temperamental striker whose conversion rate was out of this world. He always lived by his promise and some of his strikes could prompt opponents into celebrations.
His temperament and shortened career aside, there is a very strong case for Mukasa’s footballing arsenal to be more potent than that of his twice club team mate Mubiru.
Possessing a fierce shot that developed into the nickname Fimbo (caning rod), Mukasa was as deadly as anything in the area. A fox in the box with a close control off his feet and chest that left many defenders wondering whether he had super glue on his body, missing goal scoring opportunities was never in Mukasa’s game.
Despite having a far shorter career as compared to Mubiru, Fimbo won four league titles in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 with SC Villa as compared to Mubiru’s two.
In addition, Fimbo won two Uganda Cup titles 1999 and 2000 at Villa Park and the 1999 Hedex Cup.
On a personal note, Mukasa won two top tier golden boots in 1999 and 2000. Besides, he holds the domestic record for the highest number of league goals (45) in a single season. Had it not been for Idudi’s withdraw from the league that season, Mukasa would have clocked 49 goals since he had scored four past them.
Mukasa didn’t earn so many caps with Uganda Cranes but inspired Uganda’s U-23 national team into the 1999 All African Games.
He is amongst a few distinguished Ugandan footballers to have earned a national team call up while still in lower division. Mukasa was summoned by Coach Paul Ssali and featured for the U-20 side against Ethiopia in 1996 while still a player at Nakawa first division side Baggery FC.
In 1999, Hassan Mubiru and Andrew Mukasa formed a deadly striking partnership following the falling of Charles Kayemba to third choice in the pecking order. The combination holds a place amongst the deadliest in the history of Ugandan football. During that season, the duo scored 70 league goals between them with Mukasa scoring 45 to break Kirunda’s record of 32 league goals while Mubiru netted 25 goals. The goals helped SC Villa defend the league title but lost to Mbale Heroes in the semi-finals of the Uganda Cup (then known as the Kakungulu cup).
Mubiru, Mukasa, it’s over to you.