MASINDI’S EX-CRANES PLAYER LIVES MISERABLE LIFE, ASKS FOR GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
By Innocent Atuganyira
Struggling Francis Kulabigwo, 78, a Former Uganda Cranes star has appealed to the government to help the ex-national team players after a colleague miserably died in Masindi.
Kulabigwo is a resident of Kyakatabuka in Kiryanga ward, Nyangahya Division, Masindi municipality.
The father of seven grandchildren explains that the government awarded them with medals without money attached, something he said has led to the suffering of ex-national Uganda Cranes Players.
His appeal comes after the miserable death of another former national team and Express FC legend, Jimmy Muguwa at his brother’s home in Kihande cell after battling dementia for nine years.
Kulabigwo wants government to carter for them as national icons as they struggle to survive in the current situations noting that his great former team mates who among others include Jimmy Kirunda, Omondi Philip, Timothy Ayeikoh, ‘Tank’ Mubiru, Mike Kiganda, Moses Nsereko, Eddie Ssemwanga all died in miserable ways.
Rogers Byamukama, the Bunyoro region FUFA delegate said Muguwa’s miserable death was unfortunate as a national icon but called upon the government to help the remaining legends to survive in the country.
He however said FUFA has always rendered help to the legends though he declined to reveal the help saying it’s not to help someone and then make it.
Who is Francis Kulabigwo?
Kulabigwo is a resident of Kyakatabuka in Kiryanga ward, Nyangahya Division, Masindi municipality in Masindi Municipality.
He is also referred to ‘’Kuli Beckenbauer’’ by Burkhard Pape, the German tactician who coached Uganda in the early seventies was born in 1944 to the late Lawrence Kabugano and Faburonia Kayimura of Kiryanga, Masindi.
Kulabigwo started out as a striker for Masindi Dynamo, a non-league team in 1966 at the age of 22.
The ex-cranes player was the star of the Western side that won the regional tournament from where he joined topflight Coffee FC and played in three Nations events (1968, 1974 and 1976), 4 clubs (Coffee, Police, Simba and Nytil).
He won two league titles (1971 and 1978), one Uganda Cup (1976) five Cecafa Cup titles with the Cranes (1969, 1970, 1973, 1976 and 1977) and was part of the Uganda cranes team that stormed the 1978 AFCON finals in Ghana.
Kulabigwo won several trophies as a player and coach but he is mostly remembered for the 1995 league title, Kakungulu cup and semifinals slot at the Africa championship with Express FC and was part of the Uganda cranes team that stormed the 1978 AFCON finals in Ghana.