The transfer period holds a mixture of excitement, rage and despair for football fans as the ‘transfer window’ allows their clubs to buy and sell players.
The last big transfer drama in Ugandan football was between KCCA and Onduparaka as the former wanted to sign highly touted Shaban Muhamad.
Vipers very much wanted a piece of the player, and it took the convincing tongue of then KCCA media officer Clive Kyazze to have the striker sign on at Lugogo.
It was definitely not the last time the two were to clash over a player, and the two are back at it again as they clash over teenage prospect Andrew Kawooya which has topped discussion in the various Ugandan football chatrooms.
Kawooya was on Sunday unveiled as KCCA’s 11th signing with the Kasasiro Boys pulling off a coup to sway the midfielder their sway from under the noses of their bitter rivals.
Kawooya yet to feature for the Vipers’ senior team is understood to have been in search of first team action, something that the Venoms were not willing to provide, with KCCA silently preying on the situation to sway the youngster.
Vipers vow to fight on
Kawooya’s unveiling by KCCA followed a long chase for the 17-year-old, but Vipers was never going to let him leave that easy, and his unveiling at Lugogo was just half the story.
Vipers tried all they could including trying to deny communication between the player and KCCA as soon as they sensed that they were losing ground in the battle. KCCA then cried of sabotage but after a relentless chase, they reached an agreement with Kawooya and his parents early last week.
No sooner had KCCA confirmed the move than the powers that be at Vipers went up in arms questioning the legality of the move.
Vipers director and minority shareholder Haruna Kyobe argued that Kawooya is still their player, while Abdul Wasike the head of the club’s media department said that the club will soon announce their stand on the issue.
“Kawooya is still our player. You should expect war over this,” Kyobe declared.
“We have a contract with Kawooya we agreed on everything and we have the right over the kid.”
“Kawooya has a four-year contract with the club and his parents have consented to that, which gives us the right over him. Even KCCA sent in their transfer request, we rejected it but it took us by surprise when they went ahead and unveiled the kid.”
“It is unfair from them when you ask me, because they should use the proper channels to acquire players, and as Vipers we cannot allow to lose such a talented player in dubious ways.”
Kawooya joined Vipers’ development side St. Mary’s SS, Kitende in 2017 from Dynamic SS and has since played for their junior side before he was promoted to their reserve team in 2019.
I signed with Kitende not Vipers – Kawooya’s father
Kawooya comes from a decent background, speaking to one of his parents gives you an indication of parents who want the best for their child.
Kawooya’s father Henry Kasule a former football player himself has been there for his child through it all, and has had to make the big decisions as he tries to shape his son’s future.
Kasule has seen the wrath and cunningness of Ugandan football and that is why he is keen on where Kawooya’s journey leads to, but like many, he lacks even the basic understanding of contracts and how stuff gets done.
“We are a humble family, and everything I do, I try and make sure it is for the best of my kid,” he told Football256.
“Yes, I was part of negotiations that saw him join St. Mary’s Kitende because I thought the school will give him the best chance to develop into the player he ought to be.”
“But there are things I am just learning which I was not told about at the beginning. Much of that has been explained to me by KCCA who have been good and open to us about what they want for my son,” Kasule said
“When Kawooya was joining Kitende, I gave my consent because I was made to believe he was joining the school, there was no agreement that he will become a player for the Vipers team none that I consented to, it was mainly for the education and the school football.”
“I did not even care about the duration because we were given the indication that Kawooya is going to study and play football for the school and that later we would decide on what happens with his career.”
“Now that you explain to me about what this meant, the pieces fall into place, and that leaves a bad feeling because they should have informed us of what we were getting into,” he told this writer.
“I personally gave the boy to Kitende but now as it turns out to be, we were given a wrong impression of the whole situation. I fear for the kid’s career because he is at a stage where he should be getting regular football, at least he has the quality.”
“If he is not being utilized why not let him go elsewhere, and Kawooya has made it clear to us that he wants KCCA. If we choose to be selfish in this situation we are spoiling the child’s future, honestly, I hope this is settled amicably soon.”
“We have nothing against Vipers and I am grateful for the opportunity given to Kawooya, but if they had told us before, we would have taken a decision well aware of what it meant. At the end of the day, Kawooya’s future should be protected,” he added.
Why Vipers will lose the Kawooya case to KCCA FC
The situation is far from reaching a climax, Vipers are preparing to challenge KCCA who they claim are acting contrary to the regulations.
Section 22 of the FUFA regulations on the status and transfer of players states; “The minimum length of a contract shall be from the date of its entry into force to the end of the season, while the maximum length of a contract shall be five (5) years.”
“Players under the age of 18 may not sign a Professional Player contract for a term longer than three years. Any clause referring to a longer period shall not be recognised.”
This website has established through sources that Vipers via St. Mary’s SS did, in fact, reach an agreement with Kawooya (a minor) and also got the parent’s consent, but, the contract was for a duration of six years, not four.
A six-year contractual length is beyond the maximum allowed contract period for a player, and a four-year contract (if it meets professional standards) is also beyond the maximum length of a contract, and therefore the agreement can not be binding according to section 22.
FUFA regulations also call for all agreements with minors – which are specifically for educational and development purposes – and their details to be submitted to FUFA for verification according to section 19.
Football256 has also established that Vipers’ agreement with Kawooya was never submitted to FUFA and therefore the agreement can not be binding as it is not recognised.
Even in a scenario where St. Marys had a minor agreement with the player, it would have been binding on him to be legally under Vipers because St Mary’s holds a de facto link to Vipers. The bigger question remains on whether they actually registered the player.
It is a loophole in the agreement that KCCA FC utilised to sign a contract with Kawooya and also get the parents’ consent and have reportedly already submitted the details to FUFA for verification.
For now, Kawooya remains a KCCA player, but any aggrieved party is free to seek the redress of the FUFA Player Status Committee which shall rule over the issue basing on evidence produced.