13 and still counting; why UPL clubs are quick to fire coaches

Saturday March 14 2020

George Ssimwogerere  Photo by John Batanudde

George Ssimwogerere Photo by John Batanudde 

By Denis Bbosa

The number of coaching changes in the StarTimes Uganda Premier league (UPL) is soaring higher than ever before.

The hiring and firing that has characterised the top flight league before the Chan break can be largely tagged to the club owners’ burning desire to attain results but not all the ten managerial causalities have been blamed for underperforming.

Two years ago, the Uganda Football Coaches Association (UFCA), the umbrella body for Ugandan coaches, rose up to defend their plight against the club owners, then fighting for their own James Odoch who had been controversially sacked by Nyamityobora president Ben Misagga.

The UFCA, led by chairman Livingstone Kyambadde, Badru Kaddu and Simon Kirumira, has surprisingly gone silent this season as colleagues; Edward Golola, George Nsimbe, Douglas Bamweyana, Livingstone Mbabazi, Kefa Kisala, Wasswa Bbosa, George Ssimwogerere, Peter Onen, Muhammed Kisekka, Paul Nkata, Brian Ssenyondo and Eric Ndifuna have been retrenched.

Coaches to blame – Mutebi
KCCA manager Mike Mutebi, a doyen of Ugandan coaches, says most of the Ugandan coaches are responsible for their predicaments. “Some coaches go behind the backs of their colleagues and ask for their jobs. We formed an association to help us fight exploitation but the poverty at times forces coaches to accept jobs with the most awkward of conditions,” he reasoned. To Mutebi, it is better to stay at home unemployed than pledge to produce excellent football results that won’t come.

Ayeikoh; Club bosses are unwavering
Charles Ayeikoh, the beneficiary from the latest Maroons sacking of Bamweyana, opines that some club owners just want to get things done their way and mainly with former players.

“You can’t tell me that Kisala and Mbabazi were the worst coaches in Uganda to fail at Wakiso Giants. Some clubs intend to have a former player with minimal coaching requirement (Caf license C) around a Caf B or A coach and when he falters, their own takes over temporarily,” Ayeikoh revealed.

The former Busoga United coach adds that he has been out of work for a year after being frustrated by a couple of club administrations. “Don’t look at UPL coaches only, Mauricio Pochettino (former Tottenham manager) is jobless, Sebatien Desabre and Milutin Micho Sredojevic (former Uganda coaches) are also facing the sack in short spells,” he argued.

We always expect the axe – Kiwanuka
Until recently, Kiwanuka was delivering wonders for Bright Stars since replacing Kisekka at the start of the second round. “The club owners should tell us first why they are trigger happy. Like any other job, when we underperform, we expect to lose our jobs,” Kiwanuka says. That said, some expectations from the coaches seem to be overly ambitious.


“First of all it (Wakiso Giants) was an ambitious project that needed about four years to build but the owners demanded me to lift the title in our maiden top flight season.

“Worse still, most of the senior players no longer have big ambitions like playing for national team or going professional. It was always going to be hard to win matches with players with such attitude,” Kisala, formerly with URA, Masaka LC, Bul, Express and URA opened up after he was shown the exit.

Tooro United betrayed me – Bbosa
“I only knew that Smart Obedi had sold me to the new club owner later. The club was in a deep financial crisis that I funded some players’ welfare,” Bbosa told SCORE. Obedi, who signed Bbosa on June 28, last year, sold off some of his club shares to Spelito Ssesanga which served to throw relegation threatened Tooro into more chaos. They hired and fired Eric Ndifuna before settling for Kisekka.

Pride vs player revolt
The axing of Golola, with Vipers then leading the table with four points left many perplexed by club director Lawrence Mulindwa, who was quick to expound. “I invest in a lot of money in the club to get instant success and nothing more,” Mulindwa roared. Golola’s successor Fred Kajoba admitted to taking time to bridge a divided dressing room while working under pressure to deliver the league title.

Coaches that have exited clubs this season
Shafik Bisaso (Proline)
Edward Golola (Vipers)
George Nsimbe (Kyetume)
Douglas Bamweyana (Maroons)
Livingstone Mbabazi (Mbarara, Onduparaka and Wakiso Giants)
Kefa Kisala (Wakiso Giants)
Wasswa Bbosa (Tooro United)
George Ssimwogerere (Express)
Peter Onen (Bul)
Muhammed Kisekka (Bright Stars)
Paul Nkata (Mbarara City),
Brian Ssenyondo (Mbarara City)
Eric Ndifuna (Tooro United)