Sport

Former Uganda Cranes Player Passes On

Former Uganda Cranes player Hassan Biruma breathed his last on Sunday after struggling with illness for a long time.

Biruma a father to Hassan Wasswa Mawanda the current assistant captain of the national team died on Sunday at Nsambya Hospital where he has been admitted.

During his playing career at KCC that stretched from 1977 to 1985, Hassan Biruma cemented his status as a super substitute.

Following a freak injury that Phillip Omondi suffered after colliding with a Kilembe FC goalkeeper in 1976, Bidand Ssali, then KCC coach, went on a scouting mission and found Hassan Biruma, a direct, fast and powerful right footed player.

Biruma was born 59 years ago to Prince Idi Kayondo and the late Jalia Namuddu of Mizinga, Masaka. He played as a centre forward during his school days at Kida Muslim, Kako Primary as well as Masaka SS.

He joined Masaka Union FC in 1975 thanks to the influence of the club’s veteran player Ssalongo Nyanzi.

His performance saw him summoned to the Southern Province youth team, despite the fact that he was just 17.

Joining KCCA FC

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It was the KCC defender, Cloves Segujja, who introduced Biruma to coach Bidandi Ssali. That was in December 1976.

Biruma arrived at Lugogo without any pedigree. He had been playing for a division two side and was bound to struggle.

Getting the nickname Super sub

After thorough experiments, Bidandi discovered that Biruma had a high sense of game reading and could effectively work on instructions and ultimately do the needful as a substitute.

Whenever KCC was in trouble, its fans would demand for Biruma’s introduction and he would deliver.

Needless to say, Biruma became the darling of KCC fans. They appreciated him being on the bench instead of a starter.

Biruma was summoned to The Cranes in 1979 and played in the Kenya hosted Cecafa tournament where Uganda posted its worst results ever.

He continued to play in the team until 1981.

In 1981, Biruma’s influence increased.He scored eight goals as KCC recaptured the league title from Nile FC.

Biruma Fact file

Apart from 1978, Biruma won at least a major cup with KCC (the league 1977,1981, 1983 and 1985 and Uganda Cup 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1984).

In 1978, he married Betty Nanozi a renowned Bank of Uganda staff  and She Cranes netball star.

At the time of his death, the couple had six children including Hassan Wasswa, the current assistant captain of the Uganda Cranes.

In his lifetime,Biruma played for only two clubs: Masaka Union and KCC.

Biruma will be laid to rest on Monday in Maanyi trading centre, Masaka District.

Additional information credited to Hassan Badru Zziwa

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