Jimmy Kirunda is one of the best footballers to grace the football scene in Uganda given his successful career both for club and country.
The football fraternity was left in a sombre mood on Monday after Kirunda passed on in Bwaise, a Kampala suburb.
His former teammate both at KCC and the national team, Tom Lwanga has labelled Kirunda as the best player Uganda has ever seen indicating he had all the qualities of a good player.
“It is very sad that Jimmy has died. I was lucky to play with him for a long time both at KCC and the national team and I believe he is the best player Uganda has ever had. He had it all. Calm, composed, intelligent, great passer and dribbler despite being a defender,” Lwanga eulogized.
Lwanga remembers their formidable partnership with Kirunda that was incomparable and guided Uganda and KCC to several titles.
“He was a special player. We both grew up in Mulago and I learnt a lot from him. I’m happy that I played with him and achieved a lot.”
Lwanga vividly remembers Kirunda’s goal against Ethiopia in 1977 that helped Uganda to qualify for the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations.
“We had lost hope because Ethiopia were leading on away goals rule and fans had started to move out of the stadium but Kirunda scored the winning goal to help the team qualify.”
Kirunda fact file
- Born in 1950
- He captained Uganda for ten years and played in three Africa Cup of Nations (1974, 1976 & 1978)
- He won the Cecafa Cup with Uganda in 1969, 1970, 1973, 1976 & 1977.
- As Cranes Team Manager, he won three Cecafa Cup titles (1989, 1990 & 1992).
- He won three league titles with KCC (1976, 1977 and 1981) and two Uganda Cups (1980 & 1984).
- He also won a league title with Villa (1982) and one Uganda Cup (1983).
- He top-scored the league in 1978 with 32 goals.
- He coached three clubs (Bell, Buikwe & Cooperative).