In the 1970s, Rashid Mudin was among the best players Uganda Cranes could boast of. His legendary stature was cemented with a silver medal at the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations.
His son did not know anything about it until he was about 12 years, and now wants nothing more than to keep the family tradition alive.
Rashid Mukungu Muhammad, Mudin’s second born, is among the most enterprising blocking midfielders in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League (SUPL).
“I have played first team football all my life not because I am good but by trying to offer my best even when we don’t get the desired results,” says Mukungu, who knew at 12 years that he was son of the legendary Mudin, from his grandmother Amina Sebbi.
Mukungu, who is in his first top flight season has had a solid career in youth football, which ironically started at SC Villa yet his father thrived at rivals KCC (now KCCA).
Mukungu grew up with Amina in Mengo Kisenyi slum near the present-day Usafi. “When I was about 12, she used to tell me about how my dad was a superstar but she adored his loyalty most,” Mukungu recalls.
But when Amina died in 2010 while Mukungu was in Primary Five, life changed for the worse.
He started roaming with peers and that is how he ended up at Villa Park. At Villa, he was the U12, U13 and U14 captain between 2009 and 2011. This is the time when the famous Jogoo Young under youth coach Abubaker Kajumbi as well as Paul Nkata and Ibrahim Kirya, boomed.
“Maybe I would have liked KCCA had I grown in Naguru. My dad was rich but I grew up in slums and I used to admire fellow players who could afford shoes and it is Villa that gave me a start,” he adds.
Mukungu says that they ended up at Amina’s place because his mother, Grace Nalule, decided to leave the family home in Naguru, for personal reasons. She now lives in Mityana. She proudly talks about Mudin’s playing days and his work at Monitor.
At the time of his death on June 8, 1998 in a tragic accident at Naruyamambunyu in Kotido District while taking part in the Karamoja Cannonball Rally, Mudin was sports editor this paper.
“I promised myself that even though my dad was a legend, I have to take my own footsteps. I want to write my own history. I don’t want to be someone because I am Mudin’s son. Whenever I see his 1978 Afcon medal, I feel inspired.”
He says his father’s legacy has made him more focused, hardworking and determined.
Journey so far
His football career took shape when he joined Kampala Junior Team (KJT) in 2011 before joining Friends of Football (FoF) the following year. It was at FoF that Yusuf Kyambadde served as a mentor and Mukungu began to slowly improve each year.
But when he left for Dynamic SS to begin secondary education, Kyambadde was disappointed. At Dynamic, Mukungu had his first real taste of competitive football playing in the Copa Coca-Cola national finals in Kabale in 2013. He is happy to have met players like Derrick Nsibambi, Edrisa Lubega and Hassan Ssenyonjo (Wakiso Giants).
In 2014, Kibuli lured him away with a reported Shs200,000 under coach Abdallah Mubiru. He won the Copa medal in Hoima alongside the likes of Timothy Awany, Nafian Alionzi (URA goalkeeper), Alfred Leku, Fahad Bayo and Steven Mukwala, although he had been injured prior to the tournament.
Challenges at Kibuli following a loss to Kitende in the East African Games that led to the sacking of Mubiru saw him end up at Buddo SS. But things did not go as planned as typhoid left him side-lined for two months.
He then hopped to St Julian under the late coach Peter Ssebulime, who appreciated him with the captain’s armband alongside Ibrahim Wammanah (Proline). That squad had the likes of Joachim Ojera (URA) and Ibrahim Thembo (Vipers).
A player revolt led him into a mega money move to St Mary’s SS Kitende where he linked up with the likes of Ashiraf Bamuturaki, Bashir Asiku and Abdu Karim Watambala. The following year, the school director Lawrence Mulindwa named him the school captain for the unsuccessful Copa outing in Mbarara.
“It is Kitende that made me realise football was an opportunity to make money. Since this was the best place I had been at.”
Kansai Placson approached him but Mulindwa refused to let him go. Yet there was sadness as then Vipers coach Miguel Da Costa, who did not fancy youth players, let him go after Senior Six.
Wasswa Bbosa attempted to sign him at Tooro but the move fell through for lack of a national ID. Then Mansoor Kabugo snapped him at Gomba for the Masaza Cup.
On January 28, Tooro held URA to a 1-1 draw with Mukungu named man of the match. Yet for the whole of the first round, Mukungu was yet to make any appearances. When the players went on strike after change of management in January, Mukungu opted to play.
“The senior players were angry. I did not sleep that night. I was thinking it was better to betray others than betray myself,” he says of the day Onduparaka got a walkover against Tooro in the opening game of the second round.
“Secondly, Mzee (Dr Mulindwa) cannot be in his office and hear that his former captain has also gone on strike. How would I ever face him again?”
Coach Muhammad Kisekka has consequently repaid his loyalty with first team football. Mukungu says the sky is now the limit. But he has to beat the relegation monster first.
“I am not happy with our position but it has been a learning curve for me. Whenever you are in such a situation, you play like the teams fighting for the trophy. Your attitude is about winning the next game. It is a pressure zone.”
He is happy that his family is following him now. His elder brother Shafic Rashid, an employee with Mantra Motorbikes, motivates him. Their last born Musa Rashid, is still in high school. None of his siblings is into sports.
Yet their heritage is deeply rooted in sport. Mukungu’s grandfather, Khalil Khamis gave birth to Mudin and other national team boxers including Hassan and Hussein Khalil, now boxing coaches. East Coast Boxing Club, that produces some of the finest boxers, is owned by the family.
The only memory of his father is the Afcon runners-up medal. Mukungu sleeps in the family house in Naguru Estates, a 30-roomed house in his father’s room.
“I know I am not ready to live on my own and I will stay for as long as I want,” he says.
Yet he is breaking some family traditions. His father, played for KCCA most of his time winning the league thrice with them.
“But my dream is to play for Villa. It is my first love as they groomed me during the dark days.”
What they say
Muhammad Kisekka – Tooro coach
Rashid is coachable. His passing is lacking but his hard work can compensate for that. He can go ahead to be a great player because he is disciplined.