Some of the members on the team which traveled to England in 1956

The Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) has landed a number of invitations on several tours in the diaspora time immemorial.

One of those outstanding tours happened 64 years ago when the Uganda national team was invited for a tour in England in 1956.

The team arrived on 23rd August and left on the 5th October after playing 11 matches.

Almost all the players on the team played barefoot when possible, and only wore boots in wet conditions.

The Uganda team players being inspected before the Wycombe Wanderers match. Uganda lost 10-1

In the 11 matches, the Uganda team lost 7 matches, won thrice and drew once.

Team Uganda beat United Kingdom Olympic, Southall and Leeds & District FA by an identical 2-1 score apiece.

The only drew was that four goal stalemate with Isthmian League.

Subsequently, team Uganda fell to Wycombe Wanderers (10-1), Athenian League (10-1), Peterborough United (7-3), Boston United (6-1), Jack Mould’s Athletic (2-1), South Liverpool (4-2) and Reading (2-0).

All in all, Uganda conceded 46 goals and managed to score 17 goals.

The first game was that 10-1 loss to Wycombe and the blame was cast to wearing boots that caused discomfort to the players.

The Uganda football team in England during the 1956 tour

“The reason we lost that match was because we were given football boots for the first time. We didn’t know how to use them except Peagdrum. But, we removed the shoes after that and played much better.” Musoke the team captain noted as quoted by The Observer in a later interview.

When they decided to play barefooted, the Cranes put up better displays including defeating the England Olympic team 2-1. Uganda’s goals came from Gilbert Seruwagi and Dan Parma.

This team was captained by the Mengo/Budo goalkeeper George Nafutali Gumbya Musoke.

For the record, Musoke is believed to have played in more than 500 games over a 20-year career.

“It was everyone’s first trip abroad and we were overwhelmed when the plane touched down in England” left back Kefa Mukasa disclosed upon return.

The head of delegation was Polycarp Kibuuka Kakooka.

Baker Kasigwa is the only survivor on the team thus far

Todate, 86 year old Baker Kasigwa, now in Masindi is the remaining survivor of this crop of gallant players.

Recently in 2017, the FUFA boss, Moses Magogo rewarded Kasigwa with a plaque and cash (Shs 1M) that left the legend very excited and in tears.

“To honour me is a very big feat by FUFA. I thank the FUFA Executive and Eng. Moses Magogo for this generosity. Continue rewarding the people who do well” Kasigwa remarked.

FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo rewards Baker Kasigwa with a plaque in Masindi

This famous team will forever be remembered for their bravery and commitment on the tour.

The Uganda Squad:

Goalkeepers: George Nafutali Gumbya Musoke (Mengo/Budo – Team Captain) and Roly Peagdrum (Buganda)

Other players:

Jimmy ‘Omulogo’ Sewava (Express), Edward Aloysius Kalibbala (Engineering), Stephen Miriadua (Northern Province), Edward Ssemambo (Buganda), Gilbert Sseruwagi (Police), Daniel Male Parma (Aggrey), Emmanuel Kefa Kiwanuka (Nsambya/Buganda), Alfonsius Temaligwe (Express), Samuel Baker Kasigwa (Western), George Kamaba (Eastern), Mannaseh Owiny (Northern), Yekoniya Odiya (Transport), Kefa Mukasa, Manase Owiny, George Situma, William Anywar and Jimmy Sewava


Head of Delegation: Polycarp Kibuuka Kakooka

Head coach: Harris Malcolm (British)

Official: Jolly Joe Kiwanuka

Summary of matches:

  • Wycombe Wanderers 10-1 Uganda
  • Southall FC 1-2 Uganda
  • Athenian League 10-1 Uganda
  • Peterborough United FC 7-3 Uganda
  • Boston United FC 6-1 Uganda
  • Leeds and District FA 1-2 Uganda
  • South Liverpool FC 4-2 Uganda
  • Jack Mould’s Athletic 2-1 Uganda
  • United Kingdom Olympic 1-2 Uganda
  • Isthmian League 2-2 Uganda
  • Reading FC 2-0 Uganda

Key statistics:

  • Number of officials: 4
  • Number of matches played: 11
  • Number of Days on the tour: 14
  • Number of Goals Uganda scored: 17
  • Number of Players: 21
  • Number of Goals Uganda conceded: 46

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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1 Comment

  1. As a 13 year old boy I watched the ‘barefooted team’ play at Dulwich Hamlets ground, Champion Hill, London in 1956. I thought it was against the Hamlet but on reading this I guess it was against the Isthmian League. Great experience.

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