There is a new boy in Arua. Vialli Bainomugisha is tasked with changing the fortunes of Onduparaka who are in a desperate need to better their eighth-place finish last season.
Many Onduparaka fans hardly know Bainomugisha but his love story with football will excite them most. His appointment followed the resignation of Livingstone Mbabazi last November for a reported breach of contract leaving his deputy Simeon Masaba to take temporary charge.
Bainomugisha, who had an unsuccessful stint with Kigezi Homeboys in the Fufa Big League last season, is also the Technical Director of Buweekula in the Masaza Cup tournament.
But the Kibuli SS alumni fully understands the travails of Ugandan football having been in charge of lowly teams with some success. Bainomugisha is credited for previously masterminding the promotion of Lweza to the Premier League in 2014. He also led Kabale Sharp and Water to Fufa Big League play-offs.
He could be the right man given the dwindling fortunes of the West Nile club since they lost the Shs600m Betway sponsorship as he has previously managed teams with meagre budgets.
Described as a “strong choice” by club chairman, Benjamin Nyakuni, the 43-year-old tactician has arrived at a club with great ambitions. Onduparaka are no longer pushovers as they became the only West Nile side to be involved in four successive top flight seasons. Arua Young Stars lasted three successive campaigns from 1992-1994.
A mid-table finish in the just concluded season coupled with a premature elimination from the Stanbic Bank Uganda Cup summed up the Caterpillars’ worst season.
Yet a massive player exodus due to their financial struggles paint a grim picture. Key players like Ibrahim Faizul, Gaddafi Wahab, Geriga Atendere, Faisal Anini, Dudu Ramathan, Vitalis Tabu and Kabon Living, among others have had to look for greener pastures elsewhere.
“It has been our toughest season,” Nyakuni said while assessing last season.
“We will need to have more finances to pay players and facilitate other club activities.”
Coaches have come and gone at the Caterpillar’s home. Hardly has a substantial coach completed a season at the Green Light Stadium.
Leo Adraa was Onduparaka’s first Uganda Premier League head coach replacing Allan Kabonge in the 2015/16 season.
In August 2016, he became Technical Director paving way for Charles Livingstone Mbabazi. Mbabazi had two spells at the helm while Asaph Mwebaze was also handed the baton in 2018 quitting barely four months into his three-year contract for reported maladministration and intrigue. Masaba has been interim on three occasions.
Over to Bainomugisha
Bainomugisha has earned his way to such a prestigious club with probably the most passionate fans in the Ugandan league. His lack of top flight experience should be one of the biggest issues to work against him in his career. Both at Lweza and Mbarara City, his journey never got to bloom before he left.
His personality though is charming. An effective manager, he prefers to build his teams instead of losing his head in the media.
Last week, Bainomugisha had a meeting with his employers on his expectations but nothing is guaranteed at the highly demanding club.
His main challenge will be to build a strong team. The start was neither something for him to be proud of. The club’s first signing was the arrival of Bonny Musema from Odramachaku.
Bainomugisha’s experience will determine whether he is a temporary or permanent coach and Onduparaka fans are hoping he will take the next step to having the impact the Caterpillars have had on the Premier League.
More refreshing though is the fact that he normally strikes a balance between youth and experience and in the past he helped the likes of John Kisakye, Swaibu Mudde, Charles Sempa, Owen Kasule, Juma Balinya and Rajab Kakooza, get into the big time.
Other coaches who should keep reproach at arm’s length include Arthur Kyesimira (Bul), Brian Ssenyondo (Mbarara city), Douglas Bamweyana (Wakiso Giants) and Abdu Swamadu Musafiri (Myda).
Kyesimira has had a remarkable youth coaching career at Edgars but his first full season as the head will pose hefty challenges. Ssenyondo is already under pressure to find immediate replacements for Brian Aheebwa and Ibrahim Orit, who left for Vipers before he can regain the confidence of the fans.
It is a big year for Musafiri who hunted his animal and guided Myda to the Premier League yet the battle for survival will dig deeper into his credentials. Yet you never know when the axe will fall at Wakiso where Bamweyana signed a three-year deal.
The highly trained coach is yet to find a suitable place that gives him time to inculcate his romantic philosophy after SC Villa and Maroons showed him the exit prematurely.
Vipers - Fred Kajoba
KCCA - Mike Mutebi
SC Villa - Edward Kaziba
Busoga United - Abbey Kikomeko
URA - Sam Ssimbwa
Bul - Arthur Kyesimira
Mbarara - Brian Ssenyondo
Onduparaka - Vialli Bainomugisha
Express - Richard Wasswa Bbosa
Wakiso Giants - Douglas Bamweyana
Kyetume - Livingstone Mbabazi
Bright Stars - TBC
Police - Abdallah Mubiru
Myda - Abdu Swamadu Musafiri
UPDF – TBC