Mucureezi fairytale will continue, but…

Paul Mucureezi in flight. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

Discussions with Kitara for a contract renewal have not met the player’s self evaluation, leaving him open to other potential suitors. The four-time Uganda Cup and league winner - the latest gong claimed with Kitara - also maintains his political ambitions

Four league titles, a quadruple of Uganda Cup honours, and as many goals scored in a single match for Uganda Cranes later, the dream that never was has been lived… Is being lived!

The fairytale will, perhaps, continue for the Kitara FC 2023/24 Uganda Cup winning vice captain, Paul Mucureezi - even if that meant happening at a different address next season.

And to think that playing football for a job never made the list of the 31-year-old’s dream vocations while growing up!

Football? What football?

As a young boy at Kabale Primary School in Western Uganda, Mucureezi did not even know there was such a thing as playing football as a job.

“You know in the west, we never used to see professional players. People would be wasted after years of playing football,” he narrated.

“So we never used to think someone would make it through football. But later when I came to Kampala for my A Level I noticed football is possible and you can make it. 

“At the end of the day I was looking forward to being a professional footballer, which is still my dream.” 

That dream has since seen the Uganda Christian University (UCU) graduate of Procurement and Logistics Management represent Uganda Cranes, with a four-goal haul off the bench in a Chan qualifier against South Sudan in 2017 a highlight of his in national colours.

Two StarTimes Uganda Premier League titles with KCCA and as many with Vipers SC, plus two Stanbic Uganda Cups with KCCA, and one each with Vipers and Kitara read Mucureezi’s club roll of honour.

Kitara celebrate winning the Stanbic Uganda Cup. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

Best of them all

Kitara beat another league newbie, Nec, 1-0 in a historical final at Wankulukuku on May 25 to lift their first ever title at the highest level. 

That was also Mucureezi’s historic sixth final with three different clubs, in which he won his spellbinding fourth Uganda Cup.

“This has been my greatest Uganda Cup final because I achieved it with a team no one expected to win,” he affirmed. 

Mucureezi joined the Hoima club, Kitara, from Vipers in January 2023 when the Royals were pushing for promotion to the UPL. 

He helped them both on and off the pitch, passing on decent professionalism and discipline from his time at KCCA and Vipers to his new colleagues.

Months later Kitara - then under coach Sam Ssimbwa - clinched promotion before the incumbent coach left the role and Brian Ssenyondo took over.

Mucureezi may not have played every minute of Kitara’s matches, but he featured in a significant number of them, forming the core of experienced players that put up a stellar season.

“Paul has been an exceptional player and leader. His experience and skills have been very crucial to the team,” said his coach, Ssenyondo.

More than a footballer

The midfielder - hardly your tricks wizard but very much an honest and effective player -, brings more than the game to the teams he has played for, particularly Kitara in this case.

He explained while appearing on Uganda’s premiere sports show, the NTV Sport Knights.

“When I arrived at Kitara, of course I found some of the players just went about their business any-howly,” he said.

Mucureezi celebrates one of his four goals against South Sudan. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

“What was needed of me from the coach was to instil professionalism and give all the guidance that I could.

“So as one of the leaders at the club, I emphasised discipline… If you came late for training, you had to be punished… You lead by example. You work harder than the rest.

“Discipline and that extra work are key. For example, when I scored those three penalties against Vipers (Uganda Cup quarterfinal in April, 2024), I had scored 20 penalties in the build-up training.

“So when the moment came, I wasn’t fazed. I was sure I was going to score the penalties, and I did.”

Mucureezi scored a penalty each in regulation and extra time before dispatching the winning kick in a post-match shootout to book Kitara into the semifinals of the Uganda Cup. 

“I wanted to prove to doubters that a good player can leave a big club and (still) thrive in a perceived small one,” Mucureezi, famous for speaking his mind at every given opportunity, later said.

Glimpse at post-sport life

It is that mindset that has him focused on continuing the success on the pitch while laying a fairly clear roadmap for life after active sport.

Mucureezi has his sights on national politics, with the Ruhaama County Parliamentary seat - currently occupied by Henry Zinkuratire - his target in the 2026 elections.

Will he continue playing football next season, then? “For now, yes… But you never know the future. Things could dynamically change at any time. We shall cross the bridge when we get there.”

What next?

As the political bridge awaits, Mucureezi’s time at Kitara is done. At least as per the time of this interview!

Mucureezi has been a jewel for Kitara. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

The player had hoped to agree to a deal suitable to his needs as a family man but discussions between him and the club president, Deo Kasozi, did not yield the desired result for both parties.

“We had candid talks and he understood where I was coming from. But it is what it is.”

Where Mucureezi will play next remains a matter of speculation, but we understand that Nec and URA are the two clubs keenly interested. 

Mucureezi, though, admits that if a club such as Vipers came calling, he would listen simply because “it is home and will always be home.” 

Vipers are not one of those said to be tracking him - as of now, but you can never put anything beyond the club president Lawrence Mulindwa.

Mucureezi left Vipers in January 2023 after a long period out nursing a fractured metatarsal. 

Surgery was on the table but he eventually healed naturally and after joining Kitara, the rest was history.

On top of winning the Uganda Cup, Kitara were in the running for the league title until the final day of the season - with Mucureezi one of the architects. 

They finished fourth on 54 points, just two behind Vipers and Bul, and three adrift of eventual champions SC Villa.

Mucureezi was all praise for Kitara fans for standing with the team all through, but had one message for them regarding the final season match against Gaddafi in Masindi.

Mucereezi is crestfallen after Kitara lost to Bright Stars. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

The number of Kitara fans at that game, according to Mucureezi, was a sharp contrast to the throngs that had pushed them when they were in charge of things at the top.

“For us players, it was a bit disappointing because it looked like winning was all that mattered for the fans,” Mucureezi said.

“I know chances of winning the league were very slim but what if we had won it? Would they have just rushed to the stadium?

“You have to support your team in good and bad times. It is actually in bad times when your team needs you the most. That is the message I leave with Kitara fans and fans of all clubs in the country.”

Football journey, early life

Mucureezi was born some 31 years ago to Rtd Rev. Canon Jonathan and Jolly Bwanahoro in Kabale.

Actually, Mucureezi parent’s original home is Ntungamo, but due to the need for quality education for their children, “our parents shifted to Kabale because Kabale had Kigezi High School, where my dad had studied.

“So after everyone at home had finished their schooling, we moved back to Ntungamo. So I was born in Kabale, but Ntungamo is where we originate.”

Mucureezi went to Kabale Primary School, then Kigezi High for O’ Level and St Mary’s Kitende for his advanced certificate of education. 

He began his football career with a team called Bugongi United before joining Nyanja FC, all in Kabale.

From Nyanja he joined Kigezi Good Samaritan FC, and then Mutundwe Lions around 2013/14. 

It was at Mutundwe Lions, where he scored eight goals in 16 appearances, that he caught the attention of the people at KCCA, who inevitably snatched him.

Mucureezi’s time at KCCA from 2015 to 2018 saw him win two league titles and as many Uganda Cups, as well as play on the continent during the successful reign of coach Mike Mutebi. 

He joined Mbarara City from 2018 to 2019, where he was very instrumental and always turned up against the big boys.

SC Villa defender Anold Odong (L) tackles Kitara forward Paul Mucureezi. PHOTO/EDDIECHICCO

It is from there that Mulindwa came knocking at the door of his former student in 2019 and brought him back to Kitende, where he won two league titles and a Uganda Cup with Vipers. And then, of course, Kitara happened.

Throughout his time at KCCA, Mbarara, Vipers and Kitara, Mucureezi has scored goals in double figures across all competitions every season. 

Where next? Time will tell, but whatever happens, it is already a well lived dream for a child who never dreamed it.

Fact file

Full name: Paul Mucureezi

Date of birth: February 11, 1993 (age 31)

Place of birth: Kabale, Uganda

Position: Midfielder


2 league titles with KCCA

2 league titles with Vipers

2 Uganda Cup titles with KCCA

1 Uganda Cup title with Vipers

1 Uganda Cup title with Kitara

Club information

Early career

Bugongi United FC

Nyanja Football Club

Kigezi Good Samaritan FC

Senior career

2014–2015: Mutundwe Lions

2015–2018: KCCA

2018–2019: Mbarara City

2019-2022: Vipers SC

2023-2024: Kitara 

International career

Since 2017: Uganda Cranes