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.
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 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.
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.
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)
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
- 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