The Observer (Kampala)

13 December 2012

Uganda: Vianney Nsimbe - When Mubiru Stole the Limelight From Cecafa

I never thought the day would come when the true person of Chris Mubiru would unravel. But the ongoing publication of Mubiru engaging in homosexual acts has probably marked the beginning of the end of this man sodomizing footballers for nearly 30 years.

But perhaps for me the blame should be placed on all the people Mubiru has worked with, right from his playing days at UCB football club in the 1980s and the officials at SC Villa with whom he worked from 1995 until 2009.

This also includes officials of the then Bunamwaya (Vipers) Soccer Club who gave him a soft landing from 2010 when he was banished from SC Villa. This racket of fans, football officials, players and the Police "conspired" to put Uganda's footballers in harm's way.

The excuse has always been that there was no incriminating evidence. But then again, was there any effort at a detailed investigation? In July 2004 when Milutin Sredojevich (Micho) was leaving the SC Villa coaching job, he said in an interview conducted by Daniel Kalinaki, that there was mayhem at SC Villa because of a team official that was sodomizing the players, affecting their fitness.

But no one moved to reprimand Mubiru even after this revelation. This was followed by a scandal in The Cranes camp in 2005 when Mubiru tried to rape one of the footballers in his room at the Namboole stadium hotel.

The Cranes had taken residency here, preparing for a 2006 World Cup and Afcon qualifier under Egyptian coach Muhammed Abbas. I remember candidly asking Mubiru if he was gay and sodomizing some players. He vehemently denied the allegations, saying I was maligning him.

But the talk persisted and his name continued to be associated with homosexuality. Now that the truth has come out, we should fight to end a problem that robbed the Cecafa Tusker Cup that ended last Saturday the deserving media and public review.

Even then, we needed to scrutinize a few issues. First, how come Brian Umony was picked as the player of the tournament yet his involvement in the Cecafa ended 15 minutes into the Cranes quarter-final tie with Ethiopia?

Even our very own Rogers Mulindwa, the Cecafa media officer, was quick to deflect any blame, saying he wasn't on the techical team that had picked Umony. Then came Robert Ssentongo. While most of us saw him score only four goals, Cecafa gave him five goals.

And with that, he was handed the top-scorer's trophy ahead of Tanzania's Mrisho Ngasa and John Bocco, who had five goals each. Given that corruption in Uganda is the norm and we can get away with anything, I wouldn't be surprised that these awards were pre-set.

Reason? To try and raise these players' profiles so that they could easily be sold to Vietnam or somewhere. Before the second half of the final kicked off, Katende Malibu, The Cranes media officer, told us that Umony was the best player. So, how did he get to know this?

Last year at the same tournament, we saw three players Meddie Kagere, Emma Okwi and Olivier Karekezi tie on five goals and they shared the 'golden boot'. But clearly the rules of the competition changed this time. At least that's what Mujib Kasule, Fufa Vice-President told me Cecafa had said.

I have asked for the competition rules for 2012 that confirm that if players tie in the top-scorer spot, the one who played less minutes would be awarded the gong and I have failed to access them.

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