THE CHICAGO CRANES
Chicago Cranes is a soccer team of Ugandans residing in Chicago metropolitan with voluntary players and sponsors with a base of fans from Uganda and so many other countries. The origin of the Cranes was an idea floated by 1995 Chicago residents attending the UNAA convention, and since then training took course but not on serious note as of today. The team is a darling not only to the Uganda community in Greater Chicago Inc., but also to the fans of the opponents. With craving to watch real foot ball by then a rare game in the USA, the pioneers thought you crave it you make a better taste out of it, therefore the brains of men and women took centre stage to elevate the team to the next level.
In 1996, a group of men and women of Ugandan decent decided against all odds, and started the now Chicago Cranes of the Uganda Community in Greater Chicago Inc. With lots of talent floating around of the former Uganda National League professionals, i.e. Raymond Luganda (Played for Bank of Uganda and SC Villa Jogo), Noah Bukenya (Played for Bank of Uganda, Cosmos, and Uganda Airlines), and other team support of Steven Muwonge (R.I.P), Robert Kiwalabye (R.I.P), Gabriel Kaboggoza, Nicholas Kalanzi, Edward Ibanda, and lines man Flamensio Lwanyaga among others. Pioneer ladies including Goretti Nakityo, Prempa Batamuliza, Margaret Naluyima, Victoria Bukenya and Aisha Katalemwa, to mention a few and other prominent players, formed team Chicago Cranes which joined the World Soccer League tournament held at 63rd beech each year and ever since the most favorite team in the entire league. Managing the team was commanded by Rev. Dr. John C. Ssebaana and Yiga Muwonge and later joined by Patrick Kato in 2000 among others. Both Rev. Dr. John C Ssebaana and Patrick Kato maintain a steady managing support of the team to date with the Uganda Men’s Forum (UMF) picking up most of the work. The Cranes have made significant progress since inception, with growing talent and resources, young men have secured scholarship in collage and one international player emerged in 2004.
• Promote sportsmanship and talent in the Ugandan community of Chicago and mature the young generation with the understanding of the sport.
• Encourage social interaction among Ugandans and other cultures from around the world and promote international relations with individuals and bonding a broader horizon.
• Develop young talents to play on a local and international level, gaining scholarships through soccer, and a step to a real professional level.
In 2000, the team continued to grow as a new breed of young men joined the team to strengthen its position. We are proud of David Obua one of our own Chicago Cranes prayers who debuted to international stardom, he later played in Uganda Super League with Express Foot Ball Club (Red Eagles), South Africa Kaizer Chiefs 2005 – 2008 and was South African Player of the Year in season 2006–2007, now playing for Uganda Cranes and the Scottish Premier League with Hearts of Midlothian Club 2008 to date. David has faced several international encounters with the Uganda Cranes in which he has been instrumental in middle field and goal making moves.
The Cranes continued to contest in the league in 2001, in the same year, meetings continued seating to seek funds from funs and well wishers but at most the manager and assistant manager at the time took much of the tasks. In 2002, the Uganda Men’s Forum (UMF) took a centre stage in supporting the Chicago Cranes they willingly contributed to the success of the team that year and building confidence for the team and the community at large.
In 2003soccer season, the Chicago Cranes won the first championship ever, it will remain a historical win and that is when all teams in the tournament realized it was not business as usual. Ever since that year the Chicago Cranes remain the team to watch and a darling to Ugandan and non Ugandan funs in the league. In the same year, the Chicago Cranes was home for the most valuable player of the (MVP) David Obua.
In each and every tournament in the following years of 2004, 2005, and 2006 the Chicago Cranes show cased talent of many young men, and continued to win games to the play offs in all years respectively. With bouncing talent and great care the team enjoyed from the community and well wishers, the team gained superior players and the base of funs expanded and still growing.
The Chicago Cranes were champions for two consecutive years 2007 and 2008 respectively. In 2008, Rogers Obua was voted as the most disciplined player of the year, and though the Cranes were the most favored to win the 2009 championship, she was painfully ejected in the semi finals but exiting with the best goal keeper and the most disciplined player of the year respectively.
CHICAGO CRANES LEADERSHIP:
Manager Rev. Fr. John C Ssebaana 1996 – 2003
Assistant Manager – Patrick Kato 2000 – 2003
Manager – Patrick Kato 2003 – 2007
Acting Manager Joseph Serunkuma 2008 – 2009
Coach – Raymond Luganda 1996 – 2007
Coach – Jacob Bamwenda 2007 – 2008
Coach – Collins Asbantaga 2008 – 2010
Team Captain – Noah Bukenya
CHICAGO CRANES ACHIEVEMENT
• 1999 Joined and played outstanding games in the World Cup Championship League
• 2000 Participated in league
• 2001 Play offs
• 2002 Champions World Soccer League
• 2003 World Soccer League Play offs
• 2003 Most Valuable Player (MVP) David Obua
• 2003 Pan African Tournament
• 2004 Pan African Tournament
• 2004 Play offs
• 2005 Play off
• 2005 Pan African Tournament
• 2006 Semi finals
• 2006 Pan African Tournament
• 2007 Champions World Soccer League
• 2007 Pan African Tournament
• 2007 Most Valuable Player (MVP)
• 2007 Most Disciplined Plate (MDP) Rogers Obua
• 2008 Pan African Tournament
• 2008 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Frank Ebai
• 2008 Most Disciplined Plate (MDP) Rogers Obua
• 2008 Best team and undefeated Champions World Soccer League
• 2009 Goal Keeper of the Year Sandy William
• 2009 Winner of the UNAA Convention Soccer Championship Challenge
• Featured in European magazines “Eyecon”
• 2010 Season in progress
• Eriya Mulindwa – Tryout with The Chicago Fire Soccer Club
Special Tribute to organs and Sponsors
• The founding pioneers of the team as mentioned above
• Financial support at all levels physical, social, economical, and more
• Players volunteered time
• All volunteers and enormous financial supporters
• University of Wisconsin 2009
• UNAA Presidential Candidates 2009
• UMF Cup and Other Contributing Sales Project 2009
• Uganda Women’s Forum for the food, cash, and empathy to the team
• All distinguished ladies and gentlemen who have contributed towards the Cranes success
• Visiting dignitaries and their contributions to the Cranes
Dedicated organs for years
Outstanding support: Personal Support from individuals has been paramount and so much appreciated, UMF, UWF, UCiGC members, and most especially the Players, members of the president’s circle 2004 to 2006, UMF members of the Platinum, Golden, and Bronze status, and not to forget the honorable ladies of UCiGC whose sacrifice and support over years have provided refreshments, physical participation, moral and cheerful support to the team, and most especially the discipline exhibited by the fans over years. This team is not a one person’s making, many outstanding individuals have made it thrive for years and their efforts are highly appreciated and as we strive to keep going forward, our resolve is tested, but our mission in supporting the team to advance will not waver, we hope the tradition by the supporters and beyond prevail.