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Former Cranes captain, legend Jimmy Kirunda dies at 70

Jimmy Kirunda (middle) conducts a draw at FUFA headquarters in 2017. He passed on today. FILE PHOTO FUFA

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT & URN | Former Cranes captain Jimmy Kirunda,70 has died.

According to Ahmed Hussein, the Communications Officer of the soccer governing body FUFA, Kirunda reportedly collapsed while walking in Bwaise, on the outskirts of Kampala Monday afternoon and was pronounced dead moments later.

Flamboyant, disciplined and versatile, he played for all Uganda’s big clubs Express, KCCA and SC Villa.

The highlight of his career, was at KCCA in 1978, where he switched from defence to striking, going on to lead the league top scorer with a record 38 goals. The record was only broken two decades later, by Andrew Fimbo Mukasa in 1999.

The same year, he captained Cranes, from the back as they shocked the continent to reach the Africa Cup of Nations final match. Led by another legend Phillip Omondi, Cranes marched past giants Morocco and Nigeria, but fell to hosts Ghana in the final.

He was the manager of the national team between 1989 and 1996. Kirunda played as a defender for Express FC, KCCA FC, SC Villa, and Abu Dhabi sports. Goal.com, a sports website, describes Kirunda as “a genius class of the act.”

In 2014, Kirunda  told Confederation of African Football (CAF) online that his experience in the 1978 African Cup finals “is what has kept me a true legend for all these years and believe it can happen soon.”

He added that “We were a great team and played good football, when you want to be a champion you have to win big games. This has been a problem for Ugandan football if the boys can win the big games then it can be well. It was teamwork and aggressiveness that we overcame the likes of Egypt and Morocco of those days and we did it on merit.”

He is known for the composure in possession of the ball and also aggressive enough to dispose of the opponent.

Uganda league top scorers  1968-2017

YEAR PLAYER CLUB GOALS
1968 –
1969   Ali Kitonsa Express     36
1970 –
1971   Ouma Polly Simba     18
1972    Not awarded
1973   Joy Ssebuliba LINT      17
1974   Peter Kirumira Express 14
1975   Chris Dungu KCC FC   12
1976   John Ntesibe Express   14
1977   Dennis Obua Police     24
1978   Jimmy Kirunda KCC  38
1979   Davis Kamoga KCC     18
1980   Davis Kamoga KCC     21
1981   Issa Sekatawa NYTIL   18
1982   Issa Sekatawa Express 22
1983   Issa Sekatawa Express 21
1984   Frank Kyazze KCC       18
1985   Frank Kyazze KCC        28
1986   Charles Letti Tobacco 29
1987   Magidu Musisi SC Villa 28
1988   Mathias Kawesa Nsambya 17
1989   Magidu Musisi SC Villa 15
1990   Magidu Musisi SC Villa 28
1991   Mathias Kawesa Coffee 18
1992   Magidu Musisi SC Villa 29
1993   Mathias Kawesa SC Villa 20
1994   Adolf Bola Coffee           21
1995   Ibrahim Kizito UEB         20
1996   David Kiwanuka UEB        21
1997   Jackson Mayanja /Ogwang 18
1998   Charles Kayemba SC Villa   12
1999   Andrew Mukasa SC Villa 45
2000   Andrew Mukasa SC Villa    27
2001   Hassan Mubiru Express      27
2002   Hassan Mubiru Express      22
2003   Hassan Mubiru Express       16
2004   Kiwanuka/R.Sentongo Simba 10
2005   Martin Muwanga/Serunkuma 8
2006   Daniel Walusimbi Police     15
2007   Hamis Kitagenda URA       20
2008   Brian Umony/Olobo Simba 15
2009   Ssenyonjo Peter Police     22
2010   Tonny Odur Bunamwaya    21
2011   Hamis Diego Kiiza URA     14
2012   Robert Sentongo URA    13
2013   Herman Wasswa KCC     20
2014   Francis Olaki/Odur KCC 15
2015   Robert Sentongo URA     15
2016   Geoffrey Serunkuma KCC 20
2017   Dan Mzee Serunkuma Vipers 17

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