Many observers have been quick to conclude that KCCA claimed a spurious victory when they recently swapped Mike Mutebi for Morley Byekwaso in their dugout.
Such a claim would no doubt have rang hollow at the backend of March in light of the perfectly decent performances Byekwaso oversaw at the 2021 Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations.
Damaging losses in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League against URA, Bright Stars and Vipers have, however, disturbed the once comfortable belief that Byekwaso is the right fit for KCCA.
It is clear that KCCA’s top brass does not want to dispense with the idea of their new man turning things around. Which is just as well. Byekwaso could benefit from being given time and considerable latitude at Lugogo.
The most fanciful flourish, however, is to imagine that he will be a beneficiary of both. Just as tomorrow is how today ends, so is the presence of Machiavellian calculations at Lugogo. They simply cannot be wished away. This explains why Byekwaso is looking over his shoulder barely weeks into tenure as manager of KCCA’s first team.
Vipers aside, there is no Ugandan club where failure can prove terminal as at KCCA. The half a dozen, trophy-laden years Mutebi punched in at Lugogo offer a measure of his outstanding abilities.
He was always bound to be a tough act to follow. Indeed, Mutebi’s shoes – as Byekwaso will reluctantly confess – are a tad too big to fill.
Because of this, Lugogo is currently edged with melancholy and beneath it all lies a throb of pain for KCCA faithful. Some fans have already started sharpening the proverbial knife.
They clearly hanker after a coach with the ability to put his foot to the pedal from the get-go.
As appealing and impossible as cutting Byekwaso loose seems, the mistake is in imagining that he will be allowed to learn on the job. The Garbage Collectors are anything but an incubator for young, emerging coaches.
You have to look at the fate that befell Abdallah Mubiru to appreciate this rather undisputed fact.
Mubiru, who won a league title with the club as a player in 1997, came as a low-maintenance replacement for George Nsimbe in November of 2014. Nsimbe had at the time been headhunted by Tanzanian titans Azam, thanks to the inroads he made at Lugogo.
Despite standing as one of the most promising coaches, KCCA ’s top brass did not hesitate to send Mubiru on gardening leave. His honeymoon at the club ended as swiftly as it began.
A 3-0 hiding inflicted by SC Villa in the Uganda Cup final prompted KCCA officials to count their losses. For all we know, lightning could well strike twice. An inability to come up with the goods in big matches could well mark a venomous turn in relations between KCCA and yet another promising coach.
Even more frightening for Byekwaso is the prospect of Sam Ssimbwa being available on the market. Sooner than later. Although URA have vowed to allocate more urgency and resources to retain their man, rumours to the contrary continue to intrude.
It is possible that Ssimbwa will be pulled toward the lure of his boyhood club once his contract with URA reaches its fag end in June.
For some, this would represent an unfortunate conclusion. Why? Clubs need to put an arm around emerging coaches such as Mubiru, Byekwaso and Baker Mbowa – to mention but three.
True. Football, though, is for all intents and purposes a brutal business. If a coach doesn’t hit the ground running, they flirt with the risk of being guillotined. As it stands, Byekwaso could learn this the hard way.