Jimmy Kirunda was a footballing nomad and absolute gentleman
Former Uganda Cranes , KCCA FC , Express and SC Villa player Jimmy Kirunda collapsed and died on Monday afternoon near Hotel La Grande in Bwaise Kampala.
Kirunda who played in five Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaigns and captained Uganda in three of the final championships, had suffered poor health in recent years and had double bypass surgery in July 2017.
As a player Kirunda is well remembered for scoring the all important goal that sent Uganda to the 1978 AFCON tournament against Ethiopia.
His family thanked “Kirunda’s friends, colleagues and members of the public” for the many messages of goodwill.
Villa said they were “devastated to learn of the passing of our former player.
The club added: “Rest in peace, Jimmy, you will be dreadfully missed.”
Jimmy’s family said: “It is with great sadness we announce that Jimmy Kirunda passed away this afternoon.
Kirunda’s playing career
He captained Uganda for ten years and played in three Africa Cup of Nations (1974, 1976 & 1978)
He won the CECAFA Cup with Uganda (1969, 1970, 1973, 1976 & 1977)
As Cranes Team Manager, he won three CECAFA Cup titles (1989, 1990 & 1992)
He won three league titles with KCC (1976, 1977 and 1981) and two Uganda Cups (1980 & 1984)
He also won a league title with Villa (1982) and one Uganda Cup (1983)
He was the top scorer of the league in 1978 with 32 goals
He coached three clubs (Bell, Buikwe & Cooperative)
He returned to football in 1987 and featured for his Ngeye clan team
Elegant, a visionary, a leader’
Dribbler Sport chief football writer Elias Swali Bandullu
Jimmy’s career was characterised by maturity and dignity, which was recognised early in his time at Mulago Fc where he made his debut as a 17-year-old in October 1965 before being awarded the captaincy of Uganda Cranes
He acquired a fair reputation for unique playing style, with one crazy nickname of ‘The Kaizers a name that literally meant to describe his style of play