Generations come and go. However some players by all standards are always hard to replace. In fact in Europe where football is given the credit it deserves, shirt numbers are rested in honour of club heroes.
One player who i believe merited such kind of recognition is SC Villa’s most successful captain Paul Edwin Hasule who served the club almost in every capacity throughout his entire career.
At a time when Uganda needs people of Hasule’s calibre, he is no more having breathed his last on 26th April 2004 which is exactly 18 years today since his demise however, there is nothing we can do other than celebrating his good deeds to the game.
He was born in 1959 and his parents provided him with the gift of education up to the higher institution of learning at Makerere University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics.
Teenager Hasule started competitive football life at Mbale Heroes where he exhibited good performances despite his team failing to beat the drop in 1981.
However, as fate would have it, the young lad had already caught the eyes of SC Villa who wasted no time in signing him towards the end of 1981.
By the time he arrived at Villa Park, the club had massively recruited making it a formidable outfit and he struggled during the early stages of his arrival.
But being a utility player who always adjusted easily in a game depending on the demands at that particular moment, he used that flexibility to break into the starting team.
Following a splendid season where SC Villa won the 1982 Uganda Super 10 league convincingly, Mister Bidandi Ssali didn’t hesitate summoning him to the Uganda Cranes team.
And the highlight was during an Olympics qualifier when he destroyed Algeria fresh from the 1982 World Cup where they had beaten mighty West Germany 2-1 in the group stages.
It was in 1983 and truth be told most Ugandans came to Nakivubo stadium without expecting a Cranes victory but just to witness great players Algerian players like Rabah Madjer & Lakhdar Belloumi.
Few could believe it after the match when Cranes had subdued the desert Foxes 4-1 with a brace from a young Hasule in between strikes by Golden boy Issa Sekatawa and soccer wizard Phillip Omondi.
SC Villa failed to defend the 1983 league title but won the Uganda cup before adding on their trophy collection with the 1984 league championship and Hasule was involved as a mainstay in the team.
Due to his workaholic displays coupled with ability to cruise through the pitch as easy as pie, Hasule was nicknamed V8 in reference to a Land Rover which endured all kinds of terrains.
Cometh the moment, cometh the time as Hasule was elevated to club captain in 1985 though he started the reign on a wrong note when SC Villa won nothing that year.
They surrendered the league championship to KCCA while Express FC walked home with the Uganda cup after overcoming the Kasasiro lads 3-1 in the final.
Polly Ouma’s arrival changed the dice as SC Villa won their first double in 1986 followed by a league triumph the next year though KCCA barred another double by stopping the Jogoos 1-0 during the Uganda cup final.
Enjoying his captaincy, Hasule led SC Villa to the CECAFA Club Championship when they beat Sudanese giants El Merriekh 1-0 through a solitary strike by Sula Kato.
Coaches changed hands at Villa as Briton Geoff Hudson was hired at the beginning of 1988 but Hasule remained a winning captain leading his club to two consecutive doubles that year and 1989 before sealing a 7th league crown in 1990.
Having been named national team captain as well in 1988, he led Cranes to the Cecafa challenge cup in 1989 after 12 years of waiting before retaining it the following year.
1991 was a disastrous year for Hasule as not only didn’t he lay his hands on any silverware but was suspended for a year after allegedly slapping Referee Fred Wanyama in a league match against UCI.
The suspension didn’t last its full duration before it was lifted allowing Hasule to lead SC Villa to the Africa club championship final losing to Club Africain 6-2 on aggregate.
During his suspension though, SC Villa barred its players from participating in any national team engagement and the epitome was when Magid Musisi told Cranes mates ”Mugende Mukafiremu” literally translated as ‘go die on your own’ as the team prepared to travel for an Africa Cup of Nations Cup qualifier away in DRC then Zaire.
In 1992, Hasule led SC Villa to another continental final but were again beaten by Shooting stars of Nigeria on a 3-0 aggregate score in the CAF Cup. However, they reclaimed the league championship.
To crown it up, he was voted Uganda’s footballer of the year after a splendid season. Nonetheless as a player, he quit playing for SC Villa at the end of 1993 season although stayed as assistant manager during the whole of 1994.
In 1995, Simba came calling when they assigned him a coaching role to help them at the super mini league a task he executed as a coach player leading the team to top flight qualification at Wampewo.
Upon retirement, Hasule took on a coaching career starting at State House to Simba then SC Villa where he enjoyed successful seasons between 1998 and 2001 winding it up at Police.
Hasule managed Cranes briefly in 1999 before he was dropped for Nigerian Harrison Okagbue but returned in 2001 until 2003 when Fufa brought Pedro Pasculli who mysteriously disappeared after one game against Rwanda at Namboole.
Further credit is given to him for unearthing many talents including among others Phillip Ssozi, Arthur Byansiima, Geoffrey Bukohore, Robert Ssejemba, Charles Kayemba (RIP), Ndaula Mathias, Andrew Mukasa ‘Fimbo’, Andrew Jjombwe, David Obua to mention but just a few.
Altogether, he won 21 titles, 15 as a player including 2 Cecafa challenge cups, 8 league trophies, 4 Uganda cups & 1 Cecafa club championship and 6 were won as a coach making him the most decorated footballer.
His life started deteriorating towards the end of 2003 before he eventually succumbed passing on in April 2004 and the body laid at Nakivubo for public viewing as the country mourned.
Special attributes were accorded as the sports fraternity rose in unison hailing the fallen star and contributions for the burial arrangements came from all corners of the country.
Fans from different walks of sports corridors travelled in numbers to see him off in a befitting last ceremony, it was a rare occurrence.
Uganda as a nation will always treasure your enormous contribution to the game; Continue to rest in peace Paul Hasule the V8.