Jimmy Kirunda's final journey for eternity

A human being has a couple of momentous occasions in life. From birth, follows the troublesome toddler stage, childhood, teenage, adulthood, old age and finally death.

Death is the least celebrated of all the aforementioned stages because it terminates life.

Upon burial of a human being, many people often perhaps celebrate the life of the deceased, many often reflecting the good deeds of the late, and seldom the grey patches.

As the body of the former Uganda Cranes captain and manager was being laid to rest at his final eternal destiny in Mayire, Kyadondo off Kiwanda town, hundreds of people (despite the challenging social distance etiquette) braved sunny conditions to pay the final respect.

Kirunda’s close family members, active, retired footballers, football and other sports administrators attended the burial on Wednesday, 27th May 2020.

Only a handful of people were allowed at the graveyard where another former Uganda Cranes great, Phillip Omondi was laid.

The KCCA Jersey laid on the casket where the remains of his body were put

The three time AFCON finalist had his coffin lowered down in the grave at around 1:30 PM amidst tight security with a KCCA jersey wrapped on the casket.

National Council of Sports (NCS) top brass team led by the board chairman Donald Rukare, Bernard Patrick Ogwel (General Secretary), David Ssemakula Katende (assistant general secretary) attended.

Police fired tear gas canisters to disperse the swelling crowds that yearned to pay the final respect to the legend.

NCS officials paying final respect at the graveyard . L-R: David Katende, Dr. Donald Rukare and Dr. Patrick Bernard Ogwel

Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) had the Executive officials as Justus Mugisha, Ronnie Kalema, publicist Ahmed Hussein, football director Ali Mwebe, retired FIFA Referee Ali Kalyango, FUFA Delegate Paul Ssali (teammate with Kirunda on 1978 AFCON team), ,Owek.Florence Bagunywa Nkalubo among others were also present.

A lion’s share of Ex-internationals, many of whom are now coaches or servants of the game in other portfolios also attended.

Jimmy Kirunda burial

Among these included KCCA manager Mike Mutebi, Sam Ssimbwa (URA), Paul Kiwanuka (Bright Stars), newly crowned UPL winning head coach Fred Kajoba Kisitu (Vipers), Tom Masiko, Geofrey Nyola, Mathias Lule, George Mukasa and others were present too.

In respect of the social distancing procedures, police used reasonable force to avoid the hundreds of mourners getting closer, lest precipitating the spread of the deadly Coronavirus which has for the past five months plugged the entire world into panic.

Kirunda died in a horrible manner on Monday, 25th May 2020 after collapsing on the roadside in Bwaise, near Hotel La Grande.

Mourners walking to the Jimmy Kirunda graveyard

Life of Legendary Jimmy Kirunda

Years of Active Club Football: Express FC (1968 – 1969), KCC FC (1969 – 1979), Abu Dhabi Sports (1979 – 1980), KCCA, SC Villa.

Managerial Career: He was in charge of SC Villa, Bell FC, KCCA FC, Buikwe Red Stars, Cooperative FC. He also coached Uganda Cranes from 1989 – 1996.


Won the CECAFA Cup with Uganda in 1969, 1970, 1973, 1976 and 1977

Won three CECAFA Cup titles (1989, 1990 & 1992) as manager

Won four league titles (1976, 1977, 1981, 1982) and three Uganda Cup trophies (1980, 1983 1984).

Top-scorer of the Uganda Premier League in 1978 with 32 goals

Captained Uganda Cranes for 10 years, most remarkably playing in the finals of the 1978 edition

REST IN PEACE Jimmy Kirunda

The demise of Jimmy Kirunda will leave a huge gap in our game. He made his contribution on the pitch as a player, Manager, administrator and advisor. On the eve of the Uganda Cranes vs Comoros match in 2016, Kirunda and other legends of the 1978 AFCON Squad talked to the Cranes team on how they were on the verge to to take Uganda back to the Continent. He will remain a legend of the game who contributed tirelessly with a good return of results on and off the pitch

Eng Moses Magogo, FUFA President

Uganda Premier League family is still shocked and saddened by the untimely death of a true league legend Jimmy Kirunda which occurred on Monday 25th May 2020, in Kampala. No words can be used to describe this moment! On behalf of Uganda Premier League Board, Secretariat and Member Clubs, I wish to extend my sincere condolences to the bereaved family.

Bainamani Bernard Bampaire, Uganda Premier League CEO

It is with great shock that I learnt of the untimely death of one of Uganda’s greatest footballer of all time, the Late Jimmy Kirunda that occurred on the 25th May 2020. His untimely death has not only robbed the country of a great football talent and icon but also a friend with whom we served Ugandan football during my two term tenure as FUFA President. The deceased served as my Personal Assistant and later senior advisor during my time at the helm of Ugandan football. My personal experience with Jimmy is testimony that he was not only gifted on the pitch but was an excellent football manager, administrator and mentor to many. The story of Ugandan football cannot be written without mention of Jimmy Kirunda who despite being a defender was exceptionally gifted at his eye for the goal that his 32 goal tally in the 1978 top tier league was a feat that took the football world decades to break. Jimmy was a leader on and off the pitch and his contribution to the three times Uganda cranes made it to the AFCON finals in the 1970’s is a feat that is yet to be matched. You ran your race and you were indeed a true inspiration to the present and future footballing fraternity. I call upon other stakeholders in the football and sports administration that Jimmy Kirunda is one pillar that deserves mortality and all efforts should be made to preserve his memory. Rest in peace Mr. Football and may your life be a source of inspiration to many.

Dr Lawrence Mulindwa, Honary FUFA President, President of Vipers Sports Club

I would like to express my sincerest and heartfelt condolences on the passing of former international player and coach, Jimmy Kirunda. Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel for this loss affecting Uganda football. During his playing career, Jimmy captained Uganda’s national team during ten years, and participated in three CAF Africa Cups of Nations in 1974, 1976 and in 1978, where the Cranes reached the final, their best performance until today. During his time with the national team, he also won five CECAFA Cups. At club level, he will be remembered for his career at Express FC and KCC FC, where he notably won three league titles and two Uganda cups, SC Villa, where he added one league title and one Uganda Cup to his trophy room, as well as Abu Dhabi Sports Club in the UAE. After his retirement, he managed different clubs in Uganda, as well as the national team between 1989 and 1996, winning three CECAFA Cup titles in 1989, 1990 and 1992. Uganda football legend, longest serving national team captain, considered as one of the greatest African players of his generation, defender with style, class and elegance, but also top scorer of the national league, his legacy and achievements, and in particular his friendly personality, his leadership and his human qualities will not be forgotten, and he will be truly missed. On behalf of the international football community, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Federation of Uganda Football Associations, and to Jimmy’s family, friends and loved ones. Our thoughts are with all of you.

Gianni Infantino , FIFA President

We hope that these memories and our words of support may help bring some peace and solace at this difficult time. 

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

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  1. David was the late Jimmy related to the late omondi? Y were they burried on the same grave yard?

  2. Very Sad for the loss, but things has to change please abantu naffe nga mbwa, there after ne mubatendereza

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