Kampala- His impish smile never forsaking the amiable character, Roberto di Matteo eased to Protea Hotel - chic in a grey suit.
The charisma with which he squeezed a Champions League trophy for a team seemingly in disarray after Andre Villas Boas’ dismissal last year was written all over the legendary former Chelsea manager as he watched his FA Cup and European title winning montage on a projector.
The 43-year-old smiled, then laughed - right hand on his head. There was hardly any hair.
“Becoming a manager of a football club makes you lose hair.” Di Matteo was in the country to launch Guinness Football Manager (GFA), an amusement that sees you pick your own team of players and earning points every week of the Barclays Premier League.
“The upside of Guinness Football Manager is if you don’t win, you cannot get sacked,” said Di Matteo, memories of his astonishing sacking by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic despite the double silverware filling the air, “But you get to win cash and many prizes.”
Before his double, Di Matteo, who played for Lazio and Chelsea among others, was AVB’s assistant.
“AVB is a very good coach who was unlucky in not being able to follow his work
through.” The Italian, a Masters holder in Business Administration - a degree he attained during his career ending two-year injury in 2002, attributes part of the double to AVB.
“It was down to hard work and experience,” he said, “As a former player, I understand the mind of a player; that helped. But also to some degree AVB had a hand in our success.”
Di Matteo holds no grudges against Abramovic. “Most successful managers have been sacked, so I have great company there (smiles).
“It’s part of the experience. I’m now looking forward to winning many more things ahead.
“I’m gonna take this year off, I’ve received many offers but I have to take a rest, regain all my energies before I return to coaching.”