“Goals are my business”, was the statement on the branded t-shirts of one of the greatest goalscorers to grace the Uganda Premier League history – your mind could be racing now towards Andrew Mukasa, Ali Kitonsa, Magid Musisi or Jimmy Kirunda. Hell no!
That statement is a preserve of none other than golden boy Issa Ssekatawa, the most popular footballer of the ’80s. Tagnamed “soccer taboo”, the Express FC legend was league top scorer for 3 consecutive seasons (18 goals for NYTIL FC in 1981, plus 22 and 21 goals for Express FC in 1982 and ’83 respectively).
He was also the Uganda Cranes main hitman and a game featuring the Red Eagles or the Cranes attracted hordes of fans to catch a glimpse of the icon who endorsed Bata canvas shoes in an advert made in Nairobi.
The local press aptly called them “Ssekatawa” and the electric forward was held in the same breath as world celebrities like Diego Maradona, Zico, Azzarro and Michael Jackson (who had apparel named after them)
Ironically, all those goals never yielded any silverware for his Mukwano gw’abangi side i.e. the only trophy they lifted in that era was the 1985 Uganda Cup where the actual star was his erstwhile provider Fred Mukasa “Gaso” while Ssekatawa was struggling with injuries that later forced him out of Express to Coffee SC, KCCA FC before finally returning to Express early 1992 to wind down his career. He netted a paltry 7 goals as SC Villa’s Magid Musisi plundered 29 before leaving to become the 1st European based pro from Uganda.
Musisi (RIP) up to today remains the man with the most league goals combined (144) and was league topscorer a record 4 times i.e. 28 goals in 1987, 15 in 1989, 28 in 1990 before the 29 in 1992 albeit with a couple of games not played while he was away finalizing his move to France’s Stade Rennes, and of course leaving with a few more games to complete the league. The 4 goals against KCC FC in his very last league game left his fans biting their fingernails (he was just 3 goals away from the Jimmy Kirunda 32 goal record).
Kirunda had made that record in 1978 ironically as a defender although he ended that season as a forward leaving his longtime defense partner Tom Lwanga to play alongside Rashid Mudin (a tactical switch that flourished even as the City lads lifted their maiden CECAFA club championship).
Kirunda was breaking a record that belonged to Ali Kitonsa of Express FC. Arguably the most prolific goalscorer in Ugandan football history, Kitonsa is the unluckiest player record-wise.
His 54 goals in 18 matches in 1964 were never considered as top-flight goals because the then Kampala District Football Association league ceased to be the top tier the moment the Super League was founded in 1968. Again, his 36 goals in 1969 were trimmed to 29 when Mbale was disqualified (Kirunda’s would never have been a record if profilers were blind to this rule clause).
The same fate was to befall the current league goals record holder Andrew Mukasa. The SC Villa enigmatic hitman had plundered an astronomical 51 goals in 1999 but 6 were chopped off when Idudi was disqualified to leave him with 45 (which still stands to date)
Mukasa had a strike partner Hassan Mubiru with whom they formed the famed “Mu-Mu” attack,… it’s him and Phillip Ssozi who created most of Fimbo’s goals en route to the record and also the 27 he got as he again led the charts again in 2000. Mubiru was the subject of the most expensive transfer then, when Express FC snapped him up (a move which had him christened “Figo” after the el Clasico transfer of Portuguese genius Luis Figo) and the money bags Godfrey Kirumira became “Perez” after the Real Madrid boss.
Mubiru went on to win the golden boot on 3 consecutive occasions i.e. 27 goals in 2001, 22 in 2002 and 16 in 2003 but like Ssekatawa, the league trophy never came (Express settled for 2 Uganda Cups and the lucrative HEDEX Cup as the Jogoos swept all the 7 league titles from 1998 to 2004.
Another historical top marksman is none other than Matthias Kaweesa (the ex Ssenga Nantume always refers to in her social satire editions). Kaweesa is one of the reasons Magid Musisi did not sweep all golden boots in his dominant career. The soft-spoken assassin crept up in 1988 and 1991 with 17 goals for Nsambya and 18 for Coffee respectively to deny Magic Tyson a clean sweep. No wonder SC Villa prized him away when the former went to France and his 20 goals in 1993 make him the 1st man to lead charts for 3 different clubs.
The other two reasons are gangly forward Charles Letti and speed merchant Frank Kyazze. The former (an elder brother to CAF match assessor Mike Letti) scored 29 goals for Tobacco FC in 1986 while the latter scored 28 goals for KCC FC in 1985 to be the only other topscorers in each local season Magid Musisi was monstrously searching for goals. NB: The legend of course returned to Villa in the early 2000s and played briefly at Ggaba United but he had lost the robustness and hunger.
Kyazze, nicknamed kaweewo had also led the charts in 1984 with 18 goals for KCC to become the 2nd Lugogo marksman to win two consecutive golden boots.
The 1st had been a gentle giant with arguably the most ferocious shot in the game. Davis Kamoga “bomber” was league topscorer in 1979 (18 goals) and 1980 (21 goals) with his 1st feat making him KCC’s second-ever topscorer after Chris Ddungu’s 12 goals in 1975.
The other men to win a golden boot as KCC players were Geofrey Sserunkuma (20 goals in 2016-’17 and 8 goals in 2005). The 2005 tally was not only the lowest ever but was also the 2nd time the boot was shared since Sserunkuma was equal with Police’s Martin Muwanga.
The 1st shared golden boot was in 1997 when another KCC marksman Jackson Mayanja tied with Umeme (U.E.B.) forward Charles Ogwang on 18 goals. That feat not only made Ogwang the 1st goalkeeper to win the boot but also rounded up a 3 successive sweep by Umeme albeit with 3 different scorers.
Two seasons backward, his teammates David Kiwanuka and Ibrahim Kizito had won with 21 and 20 goals in 1996 and 1995 respectively but ironically, on each occasion, the former UCB custodian (who had scored a hattrick in his last game before joining Umeme) was runners-up just a goal away.
It should be noted that Kiwanuka a.k.a. Tiiriika and Robert Ssentongo had 10 goals in 2004 but up until today, no one knows why the 14 goal Kinyara Sugar Works FC hero Hesbron Mundia was not that season’s top scorer. The same can be said on season 2013/’14 when KCCA FC forward Tonny Odur ended up runners-up to SOANA FC’s Francis Olaki on 15 yet Odur is believed to have garnered 17. But so is the world.
Other factors remaining constant, Robert Ssentongo with 18 in 2015/’16, 15 in 2014/’15 and 13 in 2011/’12 remains URA’s most prolific scorer in history despite the fact that they also have Hamis Kitagenda with 20 goals in 2007 and Hamis Kiiza “Diego” with 14 in 2010/’11 as the others to join Kiwanuka’s 2004 feat discussed earlier.
The other net busters to walk away with the boot include Erickson Mateega (Express) in 1970, Polly Ouma (Simba) in 1971, Peter Kirumira (Express) in 1974, John Ntensibe (Express) in 1976, Dennis Obua (Police) in 1977, Adolf Bola (Coffee) in 1994, Charles Kayemba (SC Villa) in 1998, Daniel Walusimbi (Police) in 2006, Brian Umony (KCCA) and Bruno Olobo (Police) tied in 2008, Simon Peter Ssenyonjo (Police) in 2009, Tonny Odur (Bunamwaya) in 2010, Herman Wasswa (SC Villa/KCCA) in 2012/’13, Dan “Mzee” Sserunkuma (Express/ Vipers) in 2017/’18, Juma Balinya (Police) in 2018/’19 and most recently, Stephen Mukwala (on loan to Maroons).
NB; When the league was canceled in 1972 and ’73 due to Force Majeure, the leading scorers were Express’ Pascal Luwaga and Lint’s Joe Ssebuliba but the results were nullified.
And the goals tally of the maiden season were too messed to determine who actually outscored the other between Prisons’ Alex Oyote, Simba’s John Owubwe, and Express’ Ali Kitonsa. The reason being, the referees report sometimes never included goalscorers. Watch this space or our sister platforms for any future clarification.
The author is a Sanyuka TV analyst and presenter on 102.1 FUFA FM #Ataakulaba show every Sunday 6 pm – 8 pm