Vipers give Kajoba but will he deliver?

Tuesday July 28 2020

Caf progress. Vipers Brian Nkumbi (L) attempts

Caf progress. Vipers Brian Nkumbi (L) attempts to get pasat Constatinois opponent during the Caf Champions League qualifier at St Mary’s Kitende in 2018. PHOTO | JOHN BATANUDDE 

By Denis Bbosa

Lawrence Mulindwa is better known for wielding the ax than show confidence in managers he hires to handle the technical management of Vipers. But there has been a rare exception and Fred Kajoba isn’t licking his lips and speaking with certainty for nothing.

The former Simba and Bright Stars tactician isn’t only appearing audacious in the transfer market but has also got the assurance to lead the Kitende-based league champaions for at least another two years, Daily Monitor can reveal.

“When I got the job, I knelt down with club president Mulindwa before Mother Mary statue and we said a binding prayer. The result was a two-year contract which I want to repay with retaining the league and excelling in the Caf Champions League,” Kajoba told this
newspaper.

Such is the confidence Mulindwa has in the Uganda Cranes goalkeeping coach that the football philanthropist who has been likened to Chelsea’s Roman Abromavich has virtually allowed every one of his head coach’s wishes.

Dissan Galiwango (Express), Ibrahim Orit (Mbarara City) and Jamil Kalisa (Bright Stars) were Kajoba’s own recommendation. Mulindwa simply nodded in approval.

Then Kajoba asked for the backroom staff strengthened with Paul Kiwanuka with whom he has previously worked at previous clubs Bright Stars and Simba and Francis Mugerwa from Maroons.

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Mulindwa feels Kajoba has what it takes to get Vipers they have not done in their 51-year history defend the league title and more.
“Failing to defend the league trophy was a devastating blow and ranks high on our disappointments,” reads a message on the club’s official website, alluding to the 2018/19 season when KCCA won the Uganda Premier League.

Portuguese tactician Jorge Miguel Da Costa, who masterminded the 2017-18 league title, was dismissed after a disastrous showing during the Cecafa Kagame Cup in Tanzania but Mulindwa was was disappointed with the failure to defend the league title.

Vipers have won the league title in 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2020 since their promotion to top-flight as Bunamwaya in 2005.

The cups and more cups Kajoba cited Caf Champions League as another of his targets. No, not winning it, a descent showing and playing in the money bracket (group stage) would do Mulindwa’s vast chest and the club bank account a lot more good.

But Mulindwa fancies anything title. Uganda Cup or Cecafa, anything that uplifts the status of Vipers is worth it.

Edward Golola, the man Kajoba replaced, paid dearly after Uganda Cup knockout at the hands of ‘little’ neighbours Kajjansi United.

Vipers have tried their luck in Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup with disappointing results. They have lacked the experience to go the mile and Mulindwa would be forgiven for feeling that defending the league title guarantees return to Caf club competition, thus exposure and experience.

In their first ever continental tie in the 2016 Champions League, they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Enyimba of Nigeria in the preliminary round.

Then in the 2017 Confederation Cup, they overcame Volcan Club from Comoros 1-1 on away goals in the preliminary but fell to South Africa’s Platinum Stars in the first round 3-2 on aggregate after conceding a 90th minute penalty.

Their participation in the 2018-19 Champions League was also football tourism, steam-rolled by Algerian side Constantine 3–0 on aggregate, one round shy of the group stage.
Enter Kajoba’s plan Like a bodyguard, Kajoba has fought his wars with Kiwanuka in tow and their reunion at Mary’s Stadium means more than meets the eye.

“We have been friends for the last 20 years. He is not a yes-man deputy but one who will look me in the eyes and say, ‘you’re wrong boss,’” Kajoba said.

He is full of praise for Mugerwa, a coaching recruit from relegated Maroons, with whom he previously worked at Bright Stars.

“World over there coaches that don’t get the recognition they deserve but tactically they are better than many on the touchline and Mugerwa is that kind of coach,” he said.
But Kajoba is not done yet.

“We are still looking for about four players before we trim the team to 28 capable fighters. I have assured my bosses that we will try to win all the trophies before us next season,” he revealed.

Of course, Mulindwa will be ticking all the boxes. A red cross is dreaded at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende.

dbbosa@ug.nationmedia.com

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