Ibrahim ‘British’ Dafala, widely considered to be the most disciplined Ugandan footballers ever, died yesterday at the age of 86.
Dafala was a central defender whose footballing career lasted for over 15 years. He first played central defence for schools he attended like Entebbe Muslim , Chadwik Memorial, Ndejje SS and Kibuli SS.
On completing school, Dafala featured for Sudanes, a team mainly comprising fellow Nubians, before switching to Young Saluby that used to compete in Kampala’s lower division.
Dafala’s outstanding defensive tactics in 1960 captured the attention of then veteran politician, journalist and coach Jolly Joe Kiwanuka, who recruited him into Express.
Dafala played the central defence with such class that in 1965 he was named Express captain, steering the club through rough waters for the next nine years. Under his guidance, Express checked on the dominance of then giant clubs like Prisons, Coffee and Simba to win the 1974 and 1975 titles.
At national level he played for the Cranes for eight good years between 1962 and 1970 and he was Cranes captain for five years before handing over the mantle to Alex Oundo in the late sixties. He played a prominent role in the Cranes Gossage cup victories of 1968, 1969 and 1970 retiring after that 4-1 victory over Tanzania in Zanzibar.
In 1968, Dafala was included in the Cranes side that participated in the Afcon tournament hosted by Ethiopia where the Cranes put up a miserable show, finishing last in the tournament without even scoring a goal.
Dafala boasts of a rare record of never receiving any booking during his playing career, let alone ever being substituted or starting a match from the bench.