May 1, 2008
Breakfast at Nakivubo’s
View from the press box
Hassan Badru Zziwa

Chris Mubiru received a diagonal pass from Robert Luzze and riffled a stunning shot into the top left corner. Moments later, Luzze added another one sending the crowd at Nakivubo Stadium roar in appreciation.

Uganda Commercial Bank (UCB) had just beaten KCC 2-1 in one of the morning fixtures dubbed "breakfast" games played back in 1985.

So when KCC whipped Maroons 4-1 recently in a morning date, the two clubs were playing in familiar environs they experienced in the '80s. SC Villa, Express, Simba and Masaka are the other Super League clubs that experienced breakfast games.

But just how did the breakfast games come into being? In 1985 there was a split in the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) which culminated into widespread insecurity in Uganda as the National Resistance Army (NRA now UPDF), pressurised the Obote regime.

Owing to the bad security situation, most league matches were postponed because before 3pm the city would be deserted. The National Football League Committee came out with the idea of having some of the matches played in the morning especially on weekends.

Teams would arrive at Nakivubo Stadium by 9a.m. just after breakfast. Some of the matches that were successfully held included UCB's 2-1 win over KCC, Bank of Uganda's (BoU) 5-1 thrashing of UCB and Nsambya's 4-1 rout of BoU.

On one bright Friday July 27, 1985 morning, a match between Tobacco and BoU was being played out. The match was being held the morning before the big derby between foes KCC and Express. Tobacco were leading 1-0 when Okello Lutwa's faction of UNLA stormed Kampala en route to overthrowing the Obote II government.

Soccer fans had to flee in different directions as gun-fire rocked Nakivubo. Tobacco players had to travel back to Jinja but on the way back their vehicles were grabbed by the Obote's fleeing soldiers leaving players stranded.

Each player had to find his way back home on his own, in the ensuing confusion Ismail Taban one of Tobacco's players was killed.

The Express, KCC match was never held. Soccer fans who had bought tickets in thousands that morning lost their money; when the fans eventually asked for their money from stadium after some days the only answer given by the stadium manager John Odyek, and by the two clubs was that the money was looted.

Up to date, nobody actually knows who looted the money but your wild guess could be as good as mine.