The Ugandan sports fraternity have been awoken to the sad news of the passing of former Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) vice-president General Jackson ‘Bell’ Tushabe.
‘Colonel Bell’ as he has been fondly known was announced dead on Tuesday morning at Nakasero hospital following a long battle with a back problem that required operation in India recently.
The General is a former 1986 liberation war veteran, and belonged to the dare devil category of commanders in Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA), which included Brigadier Matayo Kyaligonza, Jet Mwebaze (RIP), Stanley Muhangi (RIP), Colonel Patrick Lumumba (RIP).
After the NRA captured power, he continued to serve in the army until the early 1990s when he was asked to take leave from the army, before he was recalled to service in 2019 and promoted to the rank of General.
Initially retiring to his home in Ggaba, General Bell found love and a special relationship with the community especially the fishermen at the Ggaba landing site.
The special bond with these fishermen introduced him to the game of football, and soon he mobilised the fishermen into a team called Victors FC in 2001.
Using his resources to bankroll Victors, the club gained promotion to the Uganda Premier League in 2005, going on to reach the quarter-finals of the 2005 league in their first season.
Not one to settle for less, he wanted Victors to soar the heights. In 2006 and 2007, Victors finished sixth and seventh. But it’s the following year that part of his dream was realised.
Reaching their first major cup final, Victors through Julius Ongude’s solo goal edged Kinyara FC at the Nakivubo Stadium to lift their first piece of silverware.
The General warned that it was only the beginning of the success that was to come at the club. However, Victors’ surge for continental success never lasted as they were eliminated by Zimbabwe’s CAPS United in the preliminary round of the 2009 CAF Confederations Cup.
While league success remained elusive, Victors were back on top of the Uganda Cup podium in 2010, as they defeated Simba FC 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in full time.
Another chance to challenge on the continent was earned, and while going one better, Col Bell’s Victors were eliminated by DR Congo’s Motema Pemba in the first round of the Confederations Cup in 2011.
Victors were relegated from the Uganda Premier League at the end of the 2012/2013 season and with Col. Bell’s ailing health, it failed to register for the second division and was soon dissolved.
Administratively, Colonel Bell served as the FUFA vice-president under Lawrence Mulindwa until 2011, when he resigned from the role due to his deteriorating health.
He was chairman of the Super Division Clubs Association (SDCA) stepping down from the role in 2006 and also chairman of the FUFA Competitions Committee between 2005 and 2009.