Kirumira, Mandela Reunite As Villa Edge Express at Nakivubo

Former football rival tycoons Godfrey Kirumira and Omar Mandela reunited at the redeveloped Nakivubo Stadium on Saturday as Express and SC Villa faced off.

Kirumira, who served as chairman of Express for about a decade during the club’s glory days, is remembered for his significant spending, including signing prominent players like Hassan Mubiru, Kefa Kisala, Willy Kyambadde, and Mathias Kaweesa.

Mandela, also at SC Villa at the time, was among Kirumira’s fierce competitors.

The two wealthy tycoons spearheaded their respective clubs during a period when Ugandan football was at its peak.

That tenure was marked by success and controversies alike, with reports of bribing and match-fixing that marred the era.

Kirumira has since left the football scene and now serves as the Honorary Consul for Namibia to Uganda.

Mandela, who had also stepped away from the game, recently returned and led SC Villa to their 17th league title.

On Saturday, SC Villa triumphed over Express with a 1-0 victory, thanks to Andrew Otim’s decisive header.

Following the match, Kirumira and Mandela, joined by FUFA President Moses Magogo and stadium developer Ham Kiggundu, came onto the pitch and shared a heartfelt moment, embraced, and waved to the enthusiastic crowd.

While it remains uncertain if this reunion will inspire Kirumira, one of Uganda’s wealthiest businessmen, to return to Express, a club currently facing financial difficulties, the scene was a nostalgic and joyous sight.

But the reunion of the two tycoons who once dominated Ugandan football for over a decade brought back memories of a vibrant era in the sport’s history.



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