Uganda Cup is the most prestigious knockout football tournament in the country and winning it is a worthwhile achievement for any player featuring domestically.
Since its inception in 1971, only 14 teams have been able to win it, with Express FC and KCCA FC winning ten apiece.
For Paul Mukatabala, it took him long to win the coveted prize, failing to do so at dominant SC Villa in the 1990s and would only win it later in 2008.
He went an extra mile to win the Uganda Cup both as a player and a coach (assistant coach at Victors).
Mukatabala reminisced about his playing days and how it was hard for him to win the Uganda Cup during the Quarterfinal draws of this year’s edition on Wednesday at FUFA House, Mengo.
“I joined SC Villa in 1990 and at the time, the club was a dominant force with several star players such as Majid Musisi (RIP), William Nkemba, Sula Kato, Twaha Kivumbi and Paul Hasule (RIP) among others. Unfortunately, I didn’t win the Uganda Cup during my eight years at Villa Park,” says a soft-spoken Mukatabala.
That year, SC Villa wrapped up the League quite early and all the focus was shifted to Uganda Cup where they reached the final, only to lose to KCC (now KCCA FC) at Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium.
“It was one game I remember vividly up to now. We were completely swept off by KCC. In my life, I have never seen Jackson Mayanja play like he did that day. He was fantastic and KCC went ahead to win 3-0 with Steve Bogere sent off.”
Mukatabala also recalls that former Club President, Patrick Kawooya (RIP) had organized a party at his residence in Kabowa only for them to lose.
“The loss felt like a whirlwind in our faces. The Club President had organized that after winning the Cup, we would hold a party at his residence. Sadly, we lost and the party was dominated by KCC fans,” he recounted.
The next near miss for Mukatabala at SC Villa came in 1992 when the Jogoos were eliminated by minnows Entebbe Young Stars FC.
SC Villa reached the final in 1997 but yet again lost to KCC courtesy of Haruna Mawa’s goal he scored direct from a corner kick.
In 2008 after his expedition abroad, Mukatabala won the Uganda Cup at Victors defeating Kinyara Sugar Works FC in the final. Julius Ongude scored the lone goal.
Two years later, Mukatabala who had retired and serving as assistant to coach George ‘Best’ Nsimbe helped Victors to win the Cup, defeating Simba in the final.