Uganda: Vipers Fall Apart –

About 10 minutes to midday on a sunny Monday (August 6, 2018), Vipers director Lawrence Mulindwa majestically walked into a fully packed press room at St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende with a calm looking gentleman whose Mexican name he not only struggled to pronounce but also seemed to know nothing about.

Mulindwa nevertheless put on a brave face and declared he had brought a capable coach that would ‘nurture and sell young talent abroad, instantly drive Vipers to the Caf group stages and do everything within his means to retain the league title they had won under Portuguese manager Miguel Da Costa’.

The lofty expectations, appended to a man sailing his African waters for the first time who had no hand in the 14 new players recruited to replace the 13 axed, pointed to one prophetic message – short stay, and guess what, it happened.

On December 29, Vipers announced that they were parting ways with the Mexican who miserably failed to parade a consistent line-up, had created divisions in the dressing room, had no admirable football strategy and was bundled out of Caf without a fight.

Enter the tumultuous Michael Nam Ouma and Edward Golola era and you had a managerial set inheriting a club in disarray with top management making it worse by appointing them on ‘interim basis’.

Player power

The suspect player and coaches recruitment policy at Kitende is partly to blame for the dim show by the players considered gifted. The gradual decline in form for star players like Moses Waiswa, Dan ‘Mzee’ Sserunkuma, Tadeo Lwanga and Yayo Lutimba, long injury spells to the reliable Geoffrey Wasswa and Halid Lwaliwa plus a low goal return of 38 in 28 matches put paid to their title dreams.

There have been unconfirmed rumours that some players feel they have now outgrown the club, yet many are pushing for fast moves away from the club.

The 20 goals conceded with two matches to go, even when they are two less of champions elect KCCA’s 22, is another vindication of a goalkeeping dilemma that has seen the three-time winners gamble with Fabien Mutombora, Bashir Sekagya and now Derrick Ochan, less than a season when they let go of the tested duo of Ismail Watenga and James Alitho.

Ray of hope

“We tried but we failed. We are going to build next season whether KCCA win or not. Vipers will come back stronger,” Ouma said after the 2-1 loss to URA last week that literary handed KCCA the title.

“We have had big fixtures (KCCA, Mbarara City and URA) in our last games,” he answered when asked where he thinks the trophy was lost. Yet for a trigger happy Mulindwa, it is highly doubted Ouma will be prowling the dugout at St Mary’s next season.

In a campaign when all the teams operated below 50 percent – according to KCCA manager Mike Mutebi, Vipers lacked the push factor on and off the field to defend their crown – like it has been the case in 2010, 2015 and 2017.


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Publish date : 2019-04-27 07:45:20

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