UGANDA : Ssimbwa leaves Falcons in dissary

The future of Uganda’s most successful club - Falcons is in balance following the death of their founder John Ssimbwa. The former Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (Fuba) president died on Monday following a long battle with illness. He will be laid to rest this afternoon in Kinoni, Masaka.

With the 48-year-old’s chapter on earth closed, many in the basketball fraternity are wondering whether the club will survive without the brain behind its formation. “We don’t know where to start from,” Falcons senior player Sam Obol remarked in his speech during Ssimbwa’s requiem mass at Christ the King Church, Kampala yesterday. Since 1998, Ssimbwa has been funding the club’s activities and led them to a record six national league titles. Their last championship came in 2007 but Ssimbwa was determined to revitalise the club amid stiff competition from Warriors and reigning champions DMark Power.

However, he was lately financially constrained and several star players left the club in search of greener pastures, which is said to have worsened his health situation. By the time of his death, Ssimbwa had stepped down as Falcons president, leaving Dennis Mbidde in charge of the 2000 East and Central Africa Club champions.

Mbidde promised yesterday that Falcons would win this year’s league title but stakeholders admit the gap left by Ssimbwa is too big to fill. “He was a giant. We stood on his shoulders to achieve as a club,” Slyvan Kaboha, who worked with Ssimbwa at Falcons, told mourners yesterday. “He was a philanthropist, very generous with money for his big family that is Falcons.” Ssimbwa is survived by two daughters, the eldest aged eight.