Sserunkuma, Ssentongo and Umony were free scoring aces

Sunday October 25 2020
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Real Goal Poachers. Sserunkuma was a certified assassin in the box, who always seemed disinterested in the events happening on the pitch but always knew how to hurt the opposition when they least expected it. Ssentongo (R) defied the old adage that size matters for strikers with so many goals from either foot and the head thanks to his restless character. PHOTOS/ EDDIE CHICCO

By Robert Mugagga

GEOFFREY SSERUNKUMA
He's considered by many to be the most complete striker of his generation. At his peak during the 2016-17 season, Sserunkuma demonstrated what an exceptional footballer he was and emerged the league’s Most Valuable Player during the Azam Uganda Premier League (AUPL) Awards conducted by Fufa. 

That season he plundered 20 goals to emerge top scorer for the second time in a decade (He first did so in 2005, again with KCCA FC). As if that was not good enough, even fans dished him with the Super League Fans player of the year. 
Then came the icing on Sserunkuma’s cake of success when he was named at number 10 on the season’s best eleven list that included others like Ismael Watenga, Nicholas Wadada, Habib Kavuma, Halid Lwaliwa, Timothy Awanyi, Taddeo Lwanga, Muzamir Mutyaba, Juma Saddam, Shaban Mohammed, and Emmanuel Okwi.
 
During the 2016-17 season, Sserunkuma scored 31 goals in all competitions for KCCA and helped the club win their first ever double. 
Sserunkuma first emerged on the Ugandan soccer scene featuring for first division side Katwe Red Stars. 
Veteran coach Stephen Gayige next took him to Mbarara based Horizon FC where he spent a short spell before returning to Kampala in 2002 to play for Police FC, a club Gayige also coached. 

When the late Paul Hasule took over the club management he mentored Sserunkuma together with other youngsters like Nanike Muzamir, Kikabi Nicholas, Alex Ndugga, Joram Katende, and Sula Lwanga. 
Hasule found Sserunkuuma to be such a special player that he once commented, “If all goes well within a short time I will transform this boy into another Andrew ‘Fimbo’ Mukasa.” 

Between 2004 and 2006 Sserunkuma played for KCCA and in 2007 left for Ethiopia’s top club, St. George. From St. George where he hardly spent a season he returned to Uganda and joined Nalubaale FC. 
A great wanderer, Sserunkuma was and many were not surprised when he later migrated to South Africa and signed for Bloemfontein Celtics where he scored seven goals in 20 appearances. 

In 2009 he made a u-turn back to Uganda and rejoined his old club KCCA for one season before going back to South Africa to play for another club, Bidvest Wits. 
He played for them for one season and switched to Vasco Da Gama also in South Africa. Between 2013 and 2014 Sserunkuma was at Victoria University FC with Lweza FC being his next club for the 2015-16 season. “What goes around, comes around,” they say and this turned true in case of Sserunkuma. 

In 2016 he made another switch to KCCA for another round to shock those who had relegated him to being nothing but a spent force. 
He did wonders for ‘Kasasiro Boys’ and won the season’s best prize from Fufa, a brand new car before leaving for Buildcon FC of Zambia. There, he made 14 appearances before switching to Napstare FC for half a season. In 2019, he was signed by Wakiso Giants. 

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As for the national team, Sserunkuma’s Cranes debut came in 2002. In 2016 he formed part of the Cranes team that participated in the Caf Chan tournament hosted by Rwanda. In 2017, he was one of the only six local-based players coach Micho included in the Cranes squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon. In all, Sserunkuuma could be described as a blindside striker, a non-fighter who instead would most of the time position himself so well in the box before causing havoc. He was good at both heading and connecting ground balls.

SSERUNKUMA FACTFILE 
(ACHIEVEMENTS) 

l In Uganda, he played for Katwe Red Stars, Horizon,  Police,  KCCA, Nalubaale, Victoria University, Wakiso Giants and Lweza among others.
l Played professional soccer for St. George (Ethiopia), Bloemfontein Celtics, Bidvest Wits and Vasco da Gama (South Africa) and Buildcon (Zambia).
l Won the League and Uganda Cup with KCCA in 2017.
l Was the league’s top scorer in 2005 (8) and 2017 (20).
l Was voted Uganda Footballer of the Year 2017
l Was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2017.
l Was voted  the league’s Fans Player of the Year in 2017.
l Won 47 caps with the senior national team - the Cranes scoring 15 goals.
l Was one of the only six local-based players coach Micho included in 2017 Afcon team.
l Was part of 2016 Cranes Chan Squad in Rwanda. 


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ROBERT SSENTONGO
Compared to Sserunkuma and Umony, Ssentongo was a bit shorter but a very aggressive striker defenders at first used to despise only to end up being made very busy as they tried to contain him. Ssentongo was a gifted striker that could score from any angle outside the box. 
He holds a joint league record with late Majidu Musisi for emerging top scorer on four occasions. He first achieved this feat in 2004 while playing for Simba when emerged joint top scorer with David Kiwanuka of URA when each netted 10 goals.
 
At Simba he could also play in different positions like at numbers 6, 7 and 11, In the 2011-12 season Ssentongo scored 13 goals for URA to become top scorer for the second time while the third time came during the 2014-15 season when he notched 15 goals for URA to come on top of the scorers’ list. 

Proving that the earlier goal scoring achievements were no fluke at all, Ssentongo emerged top scorer for the second consecutive season in the 2015-16 season to emulate six other strikers in history namely Davis Kamoga (KCCA-1979, 1980), Issa Ssekatawa (Nytil and Express, 1981, 1982) , Frank Kyazze (KCCA, 1984,1985), Majidu Musisi (SC Villa, 1989, 1990) , Andrew Fimbo Mukasa (SC Villa, 1999, 2000) and Hassan Mubiru (Express, 2001, 2002). 

Ssentongo was a left footed striker who is said to have embarked on serious football while schooling somewhere at Kasawo in Mukono. He next played for Bweyogerere FC in the first division where he didn’t last long before he was spotted by Simbain 2004 which was then under the guidance of Mike Mutebi. In 2005 Ssentongo crossed over to SC Villa and later to KCCA in 2006. He didn’t finish the season and left for Denmark to feature for Brabrand FC based near the city of Aarhus.
 
Ssentongo spent two seasons in Denmark and later came back to Uganda, returning to KCCA FC and spending there just a season. He next crossed the border over to Tanzania with African Lyon capturing his signature. Ssentongo and Sserunkuma were indeed birds of the same feathers who could hardly settle in one place.  Not surprising that in 2010, Ssentongo joined URA FC and next in 2012 boarded a plane with his destination this time being Ethiopia and obviously to play St. George, a club that has sheltered so many Ugandan footballers including the current Cranes captain Denis  Onyango. After two seasons Ssentongo returned to Uganda and again signed for URA FC, ending up being included in the season’s best eleven. 

In 2016 Ssentongo went to KCCA FC for the third time and again spending there just a season. Ethiopian club Fasil Kanema this time happened to be his next port of call. 
He hardly featured there for a full season and returned home at Kyetume FC, a club he helped to gain promotion to the Star Times Premier league. Ssentongo scored a hat trick in one of FUFA Big league promotion playoff match. Ssentongo first played for the Cranes team in 2004 and by February 2018 he had made 39 appearances with eight goals. 
In 2012, he emerged joint top in the Cecafa Tusker Challenge Cup hosted by Uganda with five goals to his credit. In 2016, Ssentongo was part of the Cranes team that went to Rwanda for the Chan championship. 
On the negative side, Ssentongo’s common blemish was his too much love for the bottle, something that is responsible for destroying talented footballers all over the world.             

SSENTONGO FACTFIlE 
(ACHIEVEMENTS)

l Holds a joint record  for emerging league’s top scorer in four seasons with legendary Magid Musisi.
l Was top scorer in 2004 (Simba-10), 2011-12 (URA-13), 2014-15 (URA- 15) and 2015-16 (URA-18).
l Won the league with KCCA in 2008 and 2016-17 seasons.
l Won the league with URA in 2010-11 season.
l Won the league with St. George of Ethiopia in 2012.
l Scored a hattrick that helped Kyetume beat Kansai Plascon 4-1 in 2019 play off to win earn promotion to the topflight.
l Played for Kobs and Cranes in the Caf Chan tournament in Rwanda in 2016.
l Registered 39 caps for the Cranes between 2004 and 2008, scoring eight goals. 


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Dangerous Duo. Ssentongo (L) and Sserunkuma celebrate a goal for KCCA on the continent. The pair linked up well with a sackful of goals to deliver the ‘Holy Grail to KCCA in the 2016-17 Uganda Premier League. PHOTOS/EDDIE CHICCO & ISMAIL KEZAALA.

BRIAN UMONY
He was for a long time a darling of many KCCA FC fans. Born in Jinja in December 1988, Umony later moved to Kampala where he was first exposed to the footballing world when turned out for first division Naguru Avis. This is the same club that groomed others like Arthur Kasigazi, Robert Ojok, Amuza Kalanzi, Robert Ngumire and Fred Okello. 
He left Nakawa Avis in 2007 and joined KCCA FC . His debut match for KCCA was against Iganga Town Council and surprisingly scored the winning goal, leaving the club fans wondering where he had come from. 

Umony went on to make history by finishing joint top scorer with 15 goals in his very first season in the Ugandan premier league. It was a double achievement for Umony as KCCA went on to win the league for the first time in 11 years. Little wonder that he was voted Uganda footballer of the year, 2007. 
The following season he continued with where he had stopped. Umony played a pivotal role, scoring four goals that helped KCCA reach the second round of CAF Champions league. 

On the way the club eliminated a more fancied side SuperSport United of South Africa. During this encounter Umony demonstrated what a gifted player he was and later it came as no surprise when the South African club fought for his signature after parting with Shs104m. 2008 was indeed a good hunting experience for Umony. In the CECAFA tournament hosted by Uganda he emerged the top scorer with five goals to his credit. In the semi finals against Burundi where the Cranes went on rampage winning 5-0, Umony scored a brace leaving Andy Mweigwa, Stephen Bengo and Geoffrey Massa to score the others. Come the final against arch rivals Kenya and he again exploded where it mattered scoring the lone winning goal to help the Cranes clinch a 10th record title.
 
In 2012 when Uganda once again hosted and won the event beating Kenya 2-1 in the final Brian Umony exhibited great soccer skills and was voted the tournament’s best player. In March 2009 Umony produced another rare achievement when he scored in 17 consecutive matches for both club and national team.

Apart from KCCA FC, he played for Supersport United and Pretoria University of South Africa, Portland Timbers of Oregon in the American big league soccer, Becamex Binh Duong of Vietnam and Azam of Tanzania. He registered over 30 appearances for the Cranes team. A persistent knee injury seemed to have checked on his otherwise bright career. In 2019 he signed to play for Express FC . 


UMONY FACTFILE 
(ACHIEVEMENTS)

l Played for Naguru United, Naguru  Avis, Express and KCCA in Uganda. 
l Played professional soccer for Supersport United, Pretoria University (South Africa), Azam (Tanzania) and Becamex Binh (Vietnam).
l Played in American Major League Soccer with Portland Timbers in 2011.
l Scored winning goal on his KCCA league debut against Iganga TC.

l Joint league top scorer in debut league season with 15 goals. 
l Voted Footballer of the Year in 2007.
l Scored four goals in 2008 Caf Champions League for KCCA to help the team reach the second round.
l In 2009, he recorded a 17-match goal scoring run for both club and country.
l Won 36 caps for Cranes with 12 goals.
l Was 2008 Cecafa Top Scorer with five goals.
l Scored lone goal as Cranes beat Kenya in 2008 Cecafa final.
l Voted 2012 Cecafa Most Valuable Player - tourney hosted by Uganda.  
 

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