The year in Ugandan football delivered a typical mixture of glory, intrigue, and dramatic upheavals.
A lot has happened in the past 12 months with many questions unanswered but the year did deliver enough talking points to sustain the endless, sometimes rancorous, always heartfelt passions of Ugandan football supporters.
Kawowo Sports Ismael Kiyonga picks his top stories that have made headlines in 2019.
KCCA extends dominance to the regional but fails Caf tests again
The Kasasiro reclaimed the league title from Vipers SC with a couple of games to go and went ahead of win the Cecafa Kagame Cup for the first time since 1978.
The most interesting bit about the regional triumph was winning it with ‘kids’ as the side missed some of its experienced players who were in Egypt with the Cranes for Afcon.
On a sad note however, they failed to reach the group stages of the continental competitions for the second year running falling to less known Algerian outfit AC Paradou.
Fifa ban on Moses Magogo
The petition had dragged on and appeared to have gone off the scene but it did surface this year when Fifa Ethics and Integrity Committee suspended Fufa President Moses Magogo for two months.
It was all about the ‘resale’ of Fifa 2014 World Cup tickets and what made more news was the fact that Magogo announced the ban himself by saying he is stepping aside to allow smooth investigation into the matter before a Fifa letter surfaced twelve days later.
He has since returned to office with mixed reactions from the football fraternity.
The Rise of women football in the country
The U-17 national women’s team conquered both the Cecafa and Cosafa regions with triumphs and came close to lifting the Senior Cecafa title with almost similar squad.
Julie Nalukenge is the new kid on the block captaining the teams to victory.
Cranes go one step better since 1978 in Afcon
For the first time since reaching the finals in 1978, Uganda had never played beyond the group stages in the Africa Cup of Nations.
But that changed this year when they progressed from a group that had DR Congo, Zimbabwe and hosts Egypt.
However, they couldn’t go past Senegal in the round of 16 losing 1-0 to Sadio Mane’s lone goal.
Uganda Cranes players strike in Egypt over bonuses
The Cranes made the news on the pitch but also off it Egypt as they staged a sit down strike in solidarity two days to the game against Senegal.
They refused to train insisting they will only do so if Fufa clears their pending bonuses worth $ 6,000 for qualifying for the knockout stages.
Calm was restored and they returned to training just a day to the big game and whether they were sorted also remains a mystery.
Desabre OUT, Mubiru tentatively takes over, McKinstry IN
After leading Cranes in Egypt, Coach Sebastien Desabre didn’t return opting to join moneybags Pyramids FC.
Police FC Coach Abdallah Mubiru along with Livingstone Mbabazi was tasked to take over on an interim basis before Northern Irish man Jonathan McKinstry took over on a permanent basis.
Local Cranes qualify for Chan in style, win Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup
It has been a joyous year for the local based players – first, qualifying for the 2020 Chan finals with a perfect record winning all their games under the guidance of Mubiru and Mbabazi.
The duo was later joined by McKinstry to guide the same bunch of players to the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup winning all their six games on home soil.
The North becomes new destination for Ugandan players
There was a time when either Rwanda (early 2000s), Kenya, Tanzania and Vietnam became home to most Ugandan players and the trend seemed to turn to the North of Africa this year as many Ugandan players have joined ranks in Egypt and Morocco.
Khalid Aucho, Murushid Jjuuko, Lumala Abdu, Emmanuel Okwi, Taddeo Lwanga, Allan Kyambadde and Patrick Kaddu have all had opportunity to be signed by North African clubs this year.
Proline excel in Big League, Uganda Cup and nearly in Caf Confederation Cup
Proline made history by winning their first ever ‘double’ as they clinched the Fufa Big League title as well as the Uganda Cup.
They followed that with exceptional performances in the Caf Confederation Cup but unfortunately, failed to get past the final hurdle to get into the money bracket of the second most lucrative club competition on the continent.
Bengo quits the beautiful game, Wazza retires from international football
Arguably the most technically gifted player of his generation Steven Bengo officially retired from the beautiful game this year.
A testimonial to see him off was played on December 20 and graced by some of the most talented players this country has seen.
Bengo’s new destination is coaching where he is already part of the technical staff at Wakiso Giants.
His former SC Villa teammate Godfrey Walusimbi alias Wazza/Jjajja Walu also called it quits but only from international football.