Based on commitment, sacrifice, and passion, sport is every bit like love. Little wonder Uganda boasts a plethora of couples who have blended success in the field of sport and the arena of romance. In this Valentine’s Day special, Charles Mutebi and Michael Nsubuga cast a glance at power couples inspiring fans and romantics alike
Suudi Ulanga & Sandra Munduru
These two basketballers are believed to have crossed paths in 2010. Ulanga was playing for the Falcons, while Munduru (now retired) featured for A1 Challenge. When both joined Uganda Christian University, their love blossomed.
After introducing Ulanga to her parents, Munduru said yes to her Tanzanian heartthrob at a glamorous wedding in 2015. Besides the wedding day, the couple shares a birthday in March 14. Needless to add, they religiously celebrate February 14.
Lawrence & Susan Muwonge
Susan Muwonge may be fearsome behind the wheel, but to Lawrence Muwonge, Uganda’s only female NRC winner, is sweetheart.
The minister of sports in the Ngabi clan, Lawrence is a qualified football agent, whose love for sports is only bettered by his love for Susan.
Both professional teachers, Susan and Lawrence met in 1999 and over the next two decades co-authored one of the most inspiring stories of any sports couple in Uganda. Besides, Susan’s historic national rally title, the couple founded Budo SS and built it into one of Uganda’s top sports schools.
Haruna Kebba & Margaret Kubingi
Football referees are blessed with a thankless occupation. But for Hakuna Kebba and Margaret Kubingi, their heartwarming love story may have never happened without the calling to whistle.
The two met in the 1990s and have since inspired each other’s growth through the national refereeing ranks, with Kebba becoming a FIFA referee and now a referees’ fitness instructor, while Kubingi rose to her current status as referees assessor and chairperson in charge of the Uganda Women Football Association.
The couple have even interested their children, Rashid and Sabila Kebba, into refereeing and credit their staying together to strict time-keeping and God.
Vincent Tumusiime & Martha Soigi
This couple loves Valentine’s Day. And that’s something that will hardly surprise anyone who has met Tumusiime and Soigi. The passion with which Soigi plays basketball and handball is just as intense as Tumusiime’s love for football.
As coach of Kampala University football side, Tumusiime has the satisfaction of always being at close quarters with Soigi, who is a sports tutor at the same university.
Ponsiano Lwakataka & Rose Lwakataka
Few Ugandan rally drivers are as daring as Ponsiano Lwakataka. Yet those fearless instincts were no match for the love of Rose Lwakataka. But as Rose tamed Ponsiano, rallying tamed Rose, convinced into joining the nerve-wracking sport like her husband.
Wasswa Bbosa & Shamim Kirabo
Like every true Express fan, Shamim Kirabo has never been slow to let the coach have it when the club is misfiring. Ask Wasswa Bbosa. Even he was not spared by his wife when the results were not up to scratch during his tenures as Express boss.
While the wins ‘united’ the couple, it’s the defeats that Kirabo just couldn’t stomach. Until, that is, she realised that Bbosa suffered more from the bad performances. Indeed, love never fails.
Ashraf Mbabazi & Prossy Nanyondo
Expensive and relatively injury-friendly, motocross is not the sport Prossy Nanyondo wanted to hear her husband, Ashraf Mbabazi, join. But Nanyondo’s fears turned out misplaced once the couple agreed to support Mbabazi’s dream.
Rather than regret, the family has been brought closer by the sport, with race days (their son, Ashraf Mbabazi, is also a rider) turning into huge family celebrations. And what’s more, Nanyondo is now general secretary, Motorcycling Association Uganda. The couple will spend Valentine training together at Busiika.
Arthur Blick & Noella Blick
Record national motocross champion Arthur Blick has completed his switch to the four wheels following his retirement from the bike in 2018. His wife, Noela, might have welcomed the move the most.
Noella served as Blick’s co-driver in the past, something that not only brought the couple closer, but also victories. Arthur says whenever Noella was by his side, he felt a surge of virility, as she worked ‘romantically’. Arthur will, as ever, spend Valentine’s with his family.
Claire Lamunu & Augus Kennedy
Ugandan Gazelles’ superstar Claire Lamunu found love in California during her illustrious spell at Vanguard University, where she was named MVP in the NAIA Women’s top basketball division.
Lamunu’s reserved character was penetrated by former player Augus Kennedy when the two met at the American College, and that breakthrough was fully exploited by the latter, who was only glad to follow Lamunu to her parents’ village Koc Kwar Laker in Omoro district for the couple’s traditional wedding in January this year.
Kennedy has supported Lamunu with her girls foundation, Score Beyond, which aims to equip girls in northern Uganda with life skills through the medium of basketball. With such a shared heart for helping others, the young married couple should find little trouble with the love that will keep them happy ever after.
Hannington Nsubuga & Josephine Namanda
This couple have an extra reason to celebrate this Valentine’s Day – Hannington Nsubuga’s recovery from COVID-19. It is an ordeal that will only strengthen the bond between one of Ugandan volleyball’s most famous couples.
Nsubuga and Namanda can be credited for creating the most destructive force in Ugandan women’s volleyball, which few foresaw back in 2013, when Nsubuga left KAVC with Namanda and seven other players to start VVC. But the impact was immediate, VVC claiming the national title in their debut season.
Nsubuga says his commitment to winning is so strong, family ties are secondary when it’s volleyball time.
“It is a matter of principle,” Nsubuga says. “When it’s time for volleyball, my wife is like any other player; when I scream at her, it is because I want her to do something a particular way.”
The couple should calmly reflect on a bond that has survived its fair share of unique tests, including COVID-19.