Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Edgar Watson has run out of superlatives for the late former Uganda Cranes captain and manager Jimmy Kirunda.

“Football has lost a real legend!” Watson, a former Sports Club Villa and Uganda Cranes captain exclaimed.

“You cannot get the best word to describe him than legend. He was a mentor to many, a real legend, a counsellor and an advisor to players,” Watson adds.

More shocking to the FUFA CEO is that fact that he was among the last people who spoke to the deceased on the fateful day.

FUFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Edgar Watson

“I was shocked because I spoke to him three hours before he was pronounced dead. He sounded very normal. When the news about the death broke, as FUFA and members of the football family, we ran very fast and establish the fact. We joined the family at Mulago,” Watson added.

Kirunda breathed his last on Monday, 25th May 2020 after he collapsed at Bwaise during a walking expedition.

The legend is a remarkable former Uganda Cranes who captained the team on three occasions at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament including the famous 1978 edition.

Jimmy Kirunda (left) prior to a Uganda Cranes match

The President of the world’s football governing body (FIFA) Gianni Infantino is among the hundreds of people across the world that have come up with a compassionate message of condolence.

“I would like to express my sincerest and heartfelt condolences on the passing of former international player and coach, Jimmy Kirunda,” Infantino noted.

Kirunda will be laid to rest at his ancestral home in Mayire, Bulesa – Kyadondo on Wednesday, 27th May 2020 at 2 PM.

Jimmy Kirunda served the beautiful game to perfection

The legacy of Jimmy Kirunda:

  • Jimmy Kirunda was born in 950 to late Henry Kirunda and Constance Nawalu at Mulago, a famous footballing hub in Uganda.
  • Studied at Mengo Primary School, Naggalama and later Old Kampala SSS.
  • Played at Mulago FC in 1965, before moving to Express, KCC and Sports Club Villa.
  • He played professional football at Abu Dhabi sports club in 1979, a year after skippering the Uganda Cranes to the AFCON final in Ghana.
  • Won three league titles with KCC FC and one with S.C Villa in 1982 where they went the entire season unbeaten are just a few of many accolades the former Cranes team manager amassed in his career.
  • He captained Uganda for ten years and played in three Africa Cup of Nations (1974, 1976 & 1978)
  • He won the CECAFA Cup with Uganda (1969, 1970, 1973, 1976 & 1977)
  • As Uganda 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)
  • His brothers William Kityo and Dick Bintanula played for KCC and Mulago respectively.
  • He was top-scorer of the Uganda Premier League in 1978 with 32 goals
  • He coached three clubs (Bell, Buikwe & Cooperative)
  • He returned to football in 1987 and featured for his Ngeye clan team
  • Worked at FUFA Secretariat in the office of former FUFA President Dr. Lawrence Mulindwa and current FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo on football matters before retiring in 2015.
L-R: Denis Onyango, Jimmy Kirunda (RIP) and Aisha Nalule during the 2018 FUFA Drum Draws at Njeru

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

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