The rivalry between Sports Club Villa and Kampala Capital City Authority Football Club is one of the biggest in the country, and one that has stood the test of time.
SC Villa are the big boys as far as Ugandan football is concerned, winning the Uganda Premier League a record 16 times, and have reached the finals of the CAF Champions League in 1991.
However, there has been one team that has provided quintessential opposition to Villa’s dominance, and that’s KCCA. The Lugogo based side have made it a priority of knocking Villa of their perch.
KCCA have closed the gap between them and Villa regards league titles to just three, and are already joint record winners of the Uganda Cup together with Express.
Everything comes to a stop when these two meet, with Kampala divided into either Blue or Yellow at least for the entirety of the 90 minutes.
The rivalry between the two teams almost makes it impossible to see a player cross directly from either teams to the other. And quite a few have treaded down that path; here are some of the players who have made direct transfers between Villa and KCCA.
The ‘Kaiser,’ as he was fondly known, was a mainstay of KCCA’s team as they established themselves as a force in Ugandan football in the 80’s. His late equalizer against Simba SC earned KCCA their first league title in 1976, and was instrumental as they retained the trophy the next year.
However, in 1982 Kirunda shocked many at Lugogo as he switched to rivals SC Villa. He quickly became a regular for Villa, guiding them to their first league title in his maiden season, and essentially helping players like Paul Hasule find their feet at the club.
Following a bizzare 4-1 defeat to Buikwe Red Stars in 1983, Villa fans blamed the former Cranes’ skipper, an incensed Kirunda decided to make a U-turn and return to KCCA but struggled to fit in forcing him to hung up his boots at.
John Sonko (Kabanzo)
One of the best right backs of his generation, Sonko however does not carry the same legendary status as he probably should have.
Sonko started out at KCCA’s then academy side City Cubs, under coach George Mukasa. Excited and sure of his abilities, Mukasa recommended the youngster to KCCA’s coach Moses Nsereko.
However, he initially failed to prove his worth at the club, but Nsereko stuck with him, and with Kirunda moving on to Villa in 1982, Kabanzo had his chance, and he took it.
Quick, agile and excellent game reader, Kabanzo’s performances especially in the 1982 Uganda Cup semi-finals against Express earned him a soft spot with the fans. He won the league title in 1983, but again Villa were back to haunt KCCA.
With Latigo and Sonko the star defenders in the country, Villa came swooping in for the pair. KCCA tried to hold onto the pair, ith the fans waging war over Villa. However, Sonko eventually left for Villa.
He was integral as Villa won the 1987 league and cup double; their first double. But like Kirunda, he was soon cast out of the team, leaving for London before later returning to play for Express before hanging up his boots in 1992.
Currently the assistant coach with the Uganda Cranes, Mubiru nicknamed Tabliq for his strong stance and belief in Islam, Mubiru started his career at Nsambya FC, before moving to UCI in Tororo and later Diary FC, where he made a name for himself as the club gained promotion to the top division in 1993.
He quickly caught the eyes of top clubs, with Express and Villa vying for his signature before he surprisingly decided to turn up for the Jogoo. He set up a formidable partnership with Paul Nkata as Villa won the league title in 1994. However, injuries restricted his time at Villa, and in 1996, Mubiru made the switch to rivals KCCA, despite Villa’s efforts to keep him.
At KCCA, Mubiru easily slotted into KCCA’s midfield and he came back to bite Villa as KCCA reclaimed league success for the first time since 1991. His header in the dying minute of the game against Villa sealed the title for KCCA. He later departed for Military Police FC, before he hung up his boots citing mistrust and dishonesty.
Byekwaso arrived at Lugogo as a prospect, but had to wait for his chance to lay his mark at the club. During that time, he had to contend with working as a ball boy at Lugogo.
Following Sam Ssimbwa’s retirement, KCCA coach Fred Mugisha knew he had enough to replace the departing legend, and he placed his trust with Byekwaso.
Laced with a deadly left foot, and eagle eye vision, Byekwaso was in no time the talk of town. The dimunitive young lad caught on as a wildfire, and together with Mubiru and Jackson Mayanja, they were the mainstay of KCCA’s team that nearly won the title in 1996, but his moment of glory would come in 1997.
Byekwaso continued with his dominant displays for KCCA, but his fairytale run would come to a standstill in 1998 as he suffered a nasty knee injury. The club acquired the services of Willy Kyambadde, and by the time Byekwaso recovered, he could not nail down a regular spot.
Byekwaso’s unending injury troubles were deemed a sign of disloyalty by the club fans, who sensed that he wanted to leave the club. And when he failed to convert a penalty kick against SC Villa a club he was strongly linked to, the fans turned on him the more.
Ahead of the 2000 season, he transferred to Villa and went on to win four league titles, one Uganda Cup and the Cecafa Club Championships in his four year stay at Villa Park.
KCCA’s triple swoop of 2018
For long, it was Villa who swayed KCCA’s top players, as the club promised legendary status and big monies.
However, by 2018, the tides had turned and KCCA were by far ahead in the monetary game. With the Authority’s Executive Director Jeniffer Musisi giving th club financial backing, and the club taking a more professional approach, they became highly attractive.
With Villa embroiled in deep political wars, and club president Ben Misagga wanted out, he made one final decision that left Villa fans forever incensed towards him, and the club on the verge of relegation.
Allan Kyambadde, Nicolas Kasozi and captain Benard Muwanga were the club’s best performers in the 2017/2018 season as they came closest to winning the title. But the troubled Misagga decided to sell the trio to KCCA.
Though Kyambadde and Muwanga have since moved on from KCCA, with the former joining Egyptian side Al-Gounah, while Muwanga is out on loan at Proline, Kasozi is still at Lugogo.