The administrator joins Ugandans in mourning the demise of a player, who captained the Cranes in the 1978 Afcon finals
Sam Nyamweya has led Kenyan football stakeholders to mourn the sudden demise of Ugandan legend Jimmy Kirunda.
The 70-year old, who was part of the Uganda Cranes side that reached the final of the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals, reportedly collapsed while walking around in Bwaise on Monday and was pronounced dead moments later.
“It is with utmost sadness to learn of the death of Uganda former footballer Jimmy Kirunda who collapsed and died on Monday,” Nyamweya said in a statement seen by Goal.
“On behalf of myself and that of Kenyan football stakeholders, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa), and to Jimmy’s family, friends, and loved ones. My thoughts are with all of you.
“Kirunda’s contribution to Uganda football can never be wished away and his death is a big blow to Uganda’s football.
“Apart from the 1978 achievement, which is seen as the hallmark of Kirunda’s international career, he also won the Cecafa Cup with Uganda a record five times. He achieved the feat in 1969, 1970, 1973, 1976, and 1977.
“He also served as Uganda’s team manager and led the country to more glorious moments as they lifted the Cecafa Cup in 1989, 1990 & 1992 in his new role.
“Apart from captaining the Cranes in three Afcon qualification campaigns, he wore the armband for 10 years, perhaps more evidence why he was valued and remains the most decorated Ugandan international.
“At club level, he played for Abu Dhabi Sports, Express FC, KCC FC, and SC Villa. Words alone cannot express our feeling following the death of Kirunda. We hope that these memories and our words of support may help bring some peace and solace at this difficult time.”
The 70-year-old former footballer was one of the iconic generations of Uganda players who reached the 1978 Afcon final in Accra.
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The Cranes had to settle for the silver medal when they lost 2-0 to hosts, the Black Stars, a feat the country has not come close to replicate.
Kirunda ensured they overcame Tunisia, Morocco, and Congo in Group B and entered the next phase as the best team of the group.
They won two matches, against Congo and Morocco, drew none and lost just one – to Tunisia – before edging Nigeria 2-1 in the semi-finals and booked the finals ticket against the hosts.