The Legacy of Retired Cranes Captain Massa and the Gaping Void He Leaves Behind

Very few imagined, order back in early 2000s, that this young forward—the emerging figurehead of Uganda Cranes revolution—would go on to be a revered player in such elevated terms.

In truth, football enthusiasts were dubious about this broad bustling striker who seemed to hit the deck at every opportunity; despite the odd flash of brilliance, there was too much of the theatrical, the pleading, the petulance.

He was, famously, known for his pace, power and ability to beat off defenders and whilst many would-be stars get carried away, Massa’s was spectacular.

At 18, Massa led Mbale Heroes to winning promotion to the league. Notably, his brace against Iganga TC in the do or die game that helped Mbale Heroes return to the top tier league.

Slowly and surely, the towering forward began to express himself as a powerhouse forward. Before long it was evident that Geoffrey Massa had the lot. Capable of outmuscling even the strongest of centre-backs, capable of leaping higher than the tallest, and, in bursts, potent enough to outmaneuver and outthink the wiliest of defenders.

He went ahead to join Police Football club and played an integral part as the Sam Timbe coached side won their first ever league title in 2005 and went ahead to win the regional club tournament (CECAFA club championship).

Massa went ahead to attract the attention of the then  Cranes head coach Mohammad Abbas who gave him the chance to feature in the LG Cup and from there, the rest is history like the common phrase goes.

It became apparent that Uganda Cranes had an absolute gem on their hands. It was on the big occasion where the front man excelled, and it was on the higher stage where the affection that existed for him among the cranes faithful became a full-blown love affair.


His first competitive game came in 2006 against Ghana in the FIFA World cup qualifiers. Uganda went ahead to lose 2-0.

From then onwards, Massa became a mainstay in the cranes set up,becoming a fans darling especially at Mandela National stadium where he made most of his history.

Nigeria with a star studded team were slain on 2nd June 2007 in the 2008 African cup qualifiers thanks to Massa’s efforts  winning Uganda two penalties that were converted by David Obuwa and Ibrahim Sekagya, the Cranes won 2-1.

The famous brace against Lesotho in the Cranes 3-0 win cannot be forgotten and the memorable strike against Congo Brazzaville that tore the net in 2012. The list of those spectacular moments from Massa go on and on.

Like he said in his retirement letter leading Uganda at the 2017 African Cup of Nations was his greatest achievement like it would be for any Ugandan footballer and as he  embarks on a blissful retirement, he leaves a gaping hole that will perhaps take long to be filled.

In the next article, ChimpSport’s Joel Muyita looks at what Massa’s retirement means to the national team and who are the likely replacements.

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