Tooro United majority share holder Smart Obed and Wasswa Bbossa discuss after a previous game Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

Back in 2007 when businessman Obed Smart Akiiki bore the idea of having a football team, he wanted to build a legacy with romantic visions. He needed to do the football business and enjoy the fun that comes with it, as well as boost his Soana Investments by associating the car company with the team.

Smart Obed, the founder of Tooro United FC

The idea came to reality in 2011 when Obed bought off Mukono based side, Misindye FC with the team initially called Misindye-Soana. From here, the target was to win promotion to the top tier league. That required the right people to do the job and thus Obed had to dig deep in his pockets to lure some of the experienced players. Indeed, he made several marquee signings including Hamis Kitagenda from URA FC, Dan Wagaluka, Peter ‘Crouch’ Ssenyonjo and Siraje Turyamuhebwa among others. On top of that, they needed a coach to guide them to the promised land and the perfect choice was made in appointing Richard Makumbi, a man who has promoted over seven teams to the Uganda Premier League.

Soana (Now Tooro United FC) played in Rwenzori Group of the 2012/13 FUFA Big League and the battle for the top spot went to the wire with Bright Stars FC still in the lead. On 18th April 2013, Bright Stars FC won their final group game 1-0 at home against Wandegeya FC to top the table on 38 points, one ahead of Soana FC who had also won their game. CRO FC on other hand had topped Elgon group to win direct qualification.

This therefore meant, that Soana FC had to feature in the playoffs for the final promotion slot. In the playoffs, Soana FC outwitted Koboko FC 3-0 at Mehta Stadium on 3rd May 2013 to reach the 7th heaven, thanks to goals from Siraje Turyamuhebwa, Dan Wagaluka and Mike Kalungi.

First season in the Uganda Premier League

Unlike many teams that struggle on their first attempt in the top tier league, Soana FC was different, taking the league by storm under the stewardship of Makumbi, winning their first four games in the league and eventually ending the 2013/14 season in 5th position with 47 points. In the same season, Francis Olaki from Soana FC emerged as the league top scorer with 15 goals.

Soana’s Francis Olaki (R) in an aerial battle with Lweza’s Robert Achero (FILE PHOTO) Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

Over the years, the club has oscillated between the middle of the table and fending off relegation. And for a team bankrolled by an individual, Obed deserves credit for a commendable job of not only supporting football but also offering employment opportunities. Football investment in Uganda is like a bottomless hole that swallows but never returns the favor. Many teams including those funded by institutions (both private and government) have run defunct after a short spell either because of being frustrated or they cannot offer financial support anymore.

Tooro United FC founder Smart Obed Akiiki

For instance, since 1990, over 50 teams that have featured in the Uganda Premier League are non-existent today. These include;

  • Coffee United FC
  • Nsambya Old Timers
  • UCI
  • Airlines FC
  • State House FC
  • Spear Motors FC
  • BN United FC
  • Nile FC
  • Resistance FC
  • BELL FC
  • Green Valley FC
  • Dairy Corporation FC
  • UEB
  • Miracle FC
  • SCOUL FC
  • Posta FC
  • Villa International
  • Telestars FC
  • UMEME
  • Pamba FC
  • Miltary FC
  • Roraima FC
  • Black Rhino FC
  • Horizon FC
  • Kasese TC
  • TOP TV FC
  • Akol FC
  • Game Boys FC
  • Moyo TC
  • Victors FC
  • KB Lions
  • Mukono United FC
  • Biharwe FC
  • Bugerere United FC
  • YOUFRA FC
  • Fire Masters FC
  • Aurum Roses
  • Victoria University

It is a public secret that modern football demands huge investment and given the fact that it is treated as a lucrative business, definitely there must be a return on investment. Of course, no club in Uganda hits the break-even point. In other words, they operate in losses. With the teams (players) that Obed has been able to present over the years, too much was spent with no return and thus a financial implosion was just a matter of time.

Reports indicate, Obed was pushed to the wall by his family to stop funding the team and this could be the reason why he sold shares.

Where did it go wrong?

When Obed changed the name of the club from Soana FC to Tooro United FC two years ago, many believed this was a good move. For a club that hardly had any fans in Kampala apart from the owner’s close friends, moving to Kabarole (Fort Portal) where he hails was added advantage. And there is testimony to this for the games that have been played at either Buhinga Stadium or St. Paul’s Seminary ground.

For the first time, the club was getting gate collections worth mentioning. In addition, they were guaranteed of support from the whole of Tooro region that for long had been deprived of top flight league action. The last time they had a team in the league was 1998 and that was Tooro FC.

Tooro United fans during a league game at Buhinga stadium on the outskirts of Fort Portal town Credit: David Isabirye

Under Wasswa Bossa during the 2018/19 season, Tooro United posted their best finish (Fourth) in the league since gaining promotion in 2013.

2018/19 Season

  • Games Played -30
  • Wins – 13
  • Draws – 10
  • Losses -7
  • Goals for – 32
  • Goals against – 23
  • Points – 49
  • Position -4th

12th June, 2009 is the day when Obed announced the arrival of Sperito Ssesanga as a new club owner, buying off 49% shares at a reported fee of 190M. Personally, I believe this is the day the team sold its soul to the devil. The horror of darkness, like a shroud, wrapped me as soon as the announcement was made at the team’s offices on Acacia Mall. Like Anne Frank’s common say, “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness,” Obed’s withdrawal from day to day running of the club came with an instant impact. Even before the season ends, the arranged marriage where both Obed and Ssesanga appeared happy now seems loveless and destined for bitter divorce.

Spelito Ssesanga with Smart Obed at the club’s new office premises at Accacia mall(Photo: David Isabirye)

Coach Bbosa threw in the towel after a 3-0 loss to Onduparaka FC at the Green Light Stadium, Arua citing poor working conditions.

Wasswa Bbosa threw in the towel when things we were not moving well

“I have resigned as Tooro United Football Club head coach. In fact, I had already resigned before the kick-off of this match (against Onduparaka). Management has not been so supportive and I cannot tolerate such conditions,” Bbosa said after tendering in his resignation.

After a goalless draw against Bright Stars FC at Wankulukuku in the first round, the players were left stranded for hours without transport and only to learn that they had gone over three months without pay.

All this seemed to happen in series. Moses Tusiime who served the club as CEO since 2015 also decided to pull out, tendering in his resignation. He was followed by the team’s media officer, Shaban Lubega alias Benteke who had only been appointed at the start of the season.  This was followed by a mass exodus of players after the end of the first round. Some of the players who left include Meddie Kibirige, Musa Mukasa, Isa Lumu, Arthur Kiggundu and Steven Luswata among others.

Moses Tusiime, the former CEO of Tooro United FC

In the mix of all this, there came Alice Namatovu who reportedly took over. This forced player to write to FUFA, seeking clarity on the right owners of the club. Eric Ndifuna who worked as a caretaker coach after the departure of Bossa too stepped aside and the club appointed Muhammad Kisekka at the start of the second round. He has however, already been sacked.

Muhammed “Meddy” Kisekka, who has been the head coach of Tooro United FC

With 5 games to the climax of the season, Tooro United FC is grounded to the bottom of the league table amidst talks that city socialite Jack Pemba could be stepping in as the next owner. Whether they can fend off relegation in the reminding games or drop down, what is unquestionable is the fact that the team has fallen from grace to grass.

Breakdown of Tooro United’s League games

Match 1: Tooro United FC 2-1 Busoga United FC

Goals scored by John Ssemazi and Fredrick Nicholas Kigozi

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Steven Luswata
  • Paddy Muhumuza
  • Charles Musiige
  • Steven Omvia
  • John Ssemazi
  • Davis Ssali

Match 2: Vipers SC 1-0 Tooro United FC

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Steven Luswata
  • Paddy Muhumuza
  • Ibrahim Kayiwa
  • Steven Omvia
  • John Ssemazi
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 3: Wakiso Giants FC 1-0 Tooro United FC

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Steven Luswata
  • Paddy Muhumuza
  • Ibrahim Kayiwa
  • Steven Omvia
  • John Ssemazi
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 4: Tooro United FC 0-2 Maroons FC

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Isa Lumu
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Paddy Muhumuza
  • Ibrahim Kayiwa
  • Steven Omvia
  • John Ssemazi
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 5: URA FC 1-2 Tooro United FC

Goals scored by John Byamukama and Willy Kavuma

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Meddie Kibirige
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Isa Lumu
  • Timothy Musinguzi
  • Steven Luswata
  • Paddy Muhumuza
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • John Ssemazi
  • Charles Musiige

Match 6: Tooro United FC 1-0 KCCA FC

Goal scored by Charles Musiige

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Meddie Kibirige
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Steven Luswata
  • John Byamukama
  • Charles Musiige
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • John Ssemazi
  • Willy Kavuma

Match 7: Tooro United FC 0-2 Kyetume FC

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Meddie Kibirige
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Timothy Musinguzi
  • Derrick Tekkwo
  • Steven Luswata
  • Ibrahim Kayiwa
  • Charles Musiige
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 8: Bright Stars FC 0-0 Tooro United FC

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Meddie Kibirige
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Fredrick Nicholas Kigozi
  • Steven Luswata
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Charles Musiige
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • John Ssemazi
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 9: Tooro United FC 1-2 BUL FC

Goal scored by Yafessi Mubiru

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Meddie Kibirige
  • Dennis Mugerwa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Fredrick Nicholas Kigozi
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa
  • Charles Musiige
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • John Byamukama
  • Paddy Muhumuza

Match 10: Onduparaka FC 3-0 Tooro United FC

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Meddie Kibirige
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Fredrick Nicholas Kigozi
  • Steven Luswata
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Charles Musiige
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 11: Tooro United FC 1-0 Mbarara City FC

Goal scored by Godfrey Lwesibawa

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Fredrick Nicholas Kigozi
  • Paddy Muhumuza
  • John Byamukama
  • Charles Musiige
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 12: SC Villa 4-1 Tooro United FC

Goal scored by Yafessi Mubiru

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Fredrick Nicholas Kigozi
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Paddy Muhumuza
  • John Byamukama
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Isa Mubiru

Match 13: Tooro United FC 1-1 Proline FC

Goal scored by Yafessi Mubiru

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Meddie Kibirige
  • Dennis Mugerwa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Fredrick Nicholas Kigozi
  • John Byamukama
  • Derrick Tekkwo
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Charles Musiige
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 14: Police FC 4-0 Tooro United FC

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Meddie Kibirige
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Fredrick Nicholas Kigozi
  • Steven Luswata
  • Paddy Muhumuza
  • Charles Musiige
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 15: Tooro United FC 1-2 Express FC

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Musa Mukasa
  • Arthur Kiggundu
  • Isa Lumu
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Isa Mubiru
  • John Byamukama
  • Charles Musiige
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 16: Tooro United FC 0-3 Onduparaka FC (Walkover)

Tooro United FC failed to turn up

Match 17: Kyetume FC 3-0 Tooro United FC (Walkover)

Tooro United FC used an ineligible player (James Kasibante)

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Rashid Mukungu
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Farouk Katongole
  • Akram Kakembo
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Charles Musiige
  • James Kasibante
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Davis Ssali
  • John Byamukama

Match 18: KCCA FC 1-0 Tooro United FC

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Rashid Mukungu
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Farouk Katongole
  • Akram Kakembo
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Charles Musiige
  • James Kasibante
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Davis Ssali
  • John Byamukama

Match 19: Tooro United FC 1-1 URA FC

Goal scored by Charles Musiige

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Rashid Mukungu
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Farouk Katongole
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Akram Kakembo
  • Charles Musiige
  • Dennis Mugerwa
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Davis Ssali
  • John Byamukama

Match 20: Maroons FC 1-1 Tooro United FC

Goal scored by James Kasibante

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Dennis Mugerwa
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Farouk Katongole
  • Akram Kakembo
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Charles Musiige
  • James Kasibante
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Davis Ssali
  • Patrick Ssekitoleko

Match 21: Tooro United FC 2-1 Wakiso Giants FC

Goals scored by Yafessi Mubiru (Brace)

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Eddy Kapampa
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Farouk Katongole
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Ronald Orombi
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Rashid Mukungu
  • Nicholas Kagaba
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Davis Ssali

Match 22: Express 2-1 Tooro United FC

Goal scored by Mike Kawooya

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Eddy Kapampa
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Farouk Katongole
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Ronald Orombi
  • Charles Musiige
  • Rashid Mukungu
  • Nicholas Kagaba
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • James Kasibante

Match 23: Tooro United FC 2-0 Police FC

Goals scored by Charles Musiige and John Byamukama

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Eddy Kapampa
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Farouk Katongole
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Ronald Orombi
  • Willy Kavuma
  • Rashid Mukungu
  • Nicholas Kagaba
  • Charles Musiige
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Match 24: Proline FC 2-1 Tooro United FC

Goal scored by Mike Kawooya

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Chrispus Kusiima
  • Eddy Kapampa
  • Isa Mubiru
  • Farouk Katongole
  • Dennis Mugerwa
  • Ronald Orombi
  • Faisal Ssekyanzi
  • Rashid Mukungu
  • Laban Tibita
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Charles Musiige

Match 25: Tooro United FC 0-1 SC Villa

Tooro United FC Starting XI

  • Michael Nantumu
  • Eddy Kapampa
  • Bruno Sserunkuma
  • Farouk Katongole
  • Mike Kawooya
  • Ronald Orombi
  • Charles Musiige
  • Rashid Mukungu
  • James Kasibante
  • Yafessi Mubiru
  • Godfrey Lwesibawa

Joel Muyita

Joel Muyita is a senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports.

Leave a comment

Please let us know what you think