Kitonsa (right) receiving a reward for the 54 goals he scored in 18 matches in 1964. In the middle is Express founder the late Jolly Joe Kiwanuka. Credit: File Photo

Today March 23, 2020 marks exactly seven years since one of greatest strikers in the history of Ugandan football, Ali Kitonsa passed on.

The former league golden boot winner succumbed to cancer on this day in 2013 but his legacy still lives on.

Kitonsa is one of the pioneer players at currently the oldest club in the Uganda Premier League, Express FC and for anyone who knows an ounce of Ugandan football history, Kitonsa’s place among the greatest is unquestioned.

He holds the record for the first Ugandan to join professional ranks when he signed for one of Africa’s greatest clubs, Zamalek of Egypt in 1964.

“He was everything about Express FC. He symbolized the club, played for it and supported it till his death”, said Express FC die hard and USL chairman Kavuma Kabenge.

“He is the reason I support Express FC”, said Ntege aka Nyindo a staunch Red Eagles fan.

Kitonsa was one of the first signings made by Express FC founder Joseph ‘Jolly Joe’ Kiwanuka and his goals helped the Red Eagles qualify for the topflight in 1961.

Only that it was never documented, he literally holds the record for the highest number goals in any local league – 54 in 18 games as Express won the 1964 Kampala District First Division League.

But of course the documented records show the record is held by former SC Villa and Express FC striker keeping; Andrew ‘Fimbo’ Mukasa who scored 45 goals in 1999. 

Kitonsa also played for Uganda Cranes and made his debut on December 9, 1961 in the Tanzania Independence Day Cup. Kitonsa missed making the Cranes’ team to the 1962 Africa Cup of Nations but won the Gossage Cup (now Cecafa) with the team after scoring six goals in an 8-0 win over Zanzibar at Nakivubo the same year.

He is the only player that has ever netted a hat trick against Egypt scoring three goals as Uganda beat the Pharaohs 4-1 at Nakivubo Stadium to qualify to the inaugural All Africa Games in Congo-Brazzaville 1965. After retirement at 43, he coached Wandegeya FC (then Spear Motors) which he guided to promotion in the 1981 league.

Rest in Peace Legend, You will always be missed

Kitonsa fact file

-Born to Hajji Asumani Kitaka (RIP) and Safina Najjuma of Kakesa-Bulo in Butambala District.

  • -Born in 1936, Died March 23, 2013
  • -His 54 goals in the Kampala League in 1964 is the unofficial record for most goals in a season.
  • -After retirement, he coached Wandegeya FC which he guided to promotion in the 1981 league.
  • -He worked for Uganda Electricity Board for 26-years as a truck driver (1984- 2010)
  • -He helped his clan Mamba to win the 1956 and 1959 Bika Bya’Buganda Shield
  • -He played for Egypt’s Zamalek for seven months

Senior Staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering football

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