Handling a top-flight club in Uganda comes with a huge deal of uncertainty, it seems every coach is seated on a ticking time bomb, and no one is certainly safe.
Often a times, decision to sack coaches comes as a surprise that it is no longer surprising if they are shown the exit just weeks into a three-year contract, such is the nature of the job in the country.
Trying to explain why a club like Vipers sacked Javier Martinez who was yet to lose a league game or Edward Golola who lifted the team to top spot but suffered a shocking exit from the Uganda Cup is as hard as solving the ‘Mysteries of Nyola’.
While some scenarios are due to dubious contract clauses; for example, former SC Villa head coach Deo Sserwadda’s agreement to win all the opening six league games. More often than not it has been down to contrasting objectives and expectations.
Police FC head coach Abdallah Mubiru who despite his coaching nous and ever-growing reputation failed to last a year in each of his last three jobs as head coach at Proline, KCCA, and Vipers. He seems to have settled at Police since taking charge of the club since January 2017.
And according to the Uganda Cranes assistant coach, club administrators, and owners do not back their coaches sufficiently especially regards player recruitment, to be able to fully apply their coaching philosophies, yet they always demand results.
“Surprisingly, the owners of such clubs are interested in good results but do not invest adequately to get those results,” Mubiru is quoted by New Vision.
“A coach can request for a player, but the club is unable to get that player. As a coach, you are left with no option but to scout for promising players from lower divisions yourself and groom them so they can fit in and hopefully give you the desired results. It is a lot of pressure.”
Only KCCA, Police, SC Villa, URA and Busoga United have enjoyed a bit of consistence in the dugout, while there have been up to 24 managerial changes up to this stage of the season.
Charles Livingstone Mbabazi (Onduparaka, Wakiso Giants) and Mohamed Kisekka (Bright Stars and Tooro United) have both been out of the job twice already.
While Brian Ssenyondo was fired and re-hired at Mbarara City, as Paul Nkata oversaw a below-par tenure at the club.
Wasswa Bbosa walked out of Tooro United following a heated argument with his bosses, as he was left frustrated for going months without pay.
Not to mention using his own resources to provide refreshments for the players after games and training.
Now back at Express, Wasswa was infuriated with the ridiculous demand for results from his bosses despite him going out of his way to keep the players a bit motivated.
And Matia Lule who was in charge of Proline FC at the start of the season before he left to go for further studies, used Wasswa’s situation as a reference to argue that coaches are often left demoralized with the conditions within which they execute their duties.
“The problem with these club owners is that they don’t have a vision for the club but only want to see the team winning, which is not sustainable,” Lule told New Vision.
“Some coaches and players go for months without payment. How do you expect them to be motivated?”
“They don’t respect the agreements and after the team registers quick success, they shift their minds to winning the league title, which was not agreed upon in that period,” he added.
Meanwhile, while Proline FC director Mujib Kasule maintains that the issues raised are consistent with what many coaches face.
Mujib who has previously worked as a coach, however, believes that some deals are driven by the need to bag some quick bucks without consideration for an individual’s ability to do the required job.
“All that is requested of [coaches] is to groom the players and use these same players to help improve results. Failure to do so will see the owners fire you,” Kasule said.
“Some are after money. When a hot deal is presented to him, he doesn’t think twice about what his CV bears.”
“Eventually, he will be moving from this club to another, which kills one’s reputation,” he. added.
With the top-flight division set to have the number of teams reduce from 16 to 12, if the reforms proposed by FUFA are passed, the top flight is surely set to serve up even more coaching casualties.