Behind Okello’s move to Vipers

Allan Okello (L) was unveiled by the Vipers club president Lawrence Mulindwa. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Club fully committed to helping the player back to full fitness, and the medical team at Vipers optimistic treatment and rehabilitation could keep the knife away

Talk of Allan Okello potentially joining Vipers SC had been in the air for over a month.

And yes, informal contacts between the player and decision makers at the Kitende club surely happened, but the real official contact to strike the deal did not happen until the final week of Uganda’s transfer deadline last week. 

The 23-year-old former Paradou AC (Algeria) and KCCA forward sealed a three-year-contract with Vipers on deadline day last Thursday as a free agent.

New lease of life

“I am so happy to join Vipers Sports Club! I am so excited to be here at this big club,” Okello told the club website upon completing his move.

“l didn’t have to think twice when Vipers called me. l just knew I wanted to sign for the club. I can’t wait to get started with the team.”

That call, sources close to the whole process tell the Daily Monitor, came through just last Tuesday, exactly two days to the transfer deadline day.

When an official at Vipers phoned the player, Okello quickly briefed his representatives and an expedited hive of activity including medical scans, since the new Venom is dealing with a concerning knee problem, ensued.

Okello’s knee issue was first discovered when he was summoned to the Uganda Cranes camp as the team prepared for the Afcon qualifier against Tanzania played in Egypt in March.

It is understood both parties were desperate to have the move over the line, with Okello needing a caring place to renew his career and Vipers imposing chairman, Lawrence Mulindwa, eager to make a statement by grabbing the former KCCA posterboy. 

Taking care of Okello's health was going to be crucial for any club that would sign him, and Vipers were up to the challenge.

Scans and rehabilitation

Earlier scans carried out by Paradou, this newspaper has been told, had shown that Okello’s Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and meniscus, which are much tougher to deal with, were okay - only some wounds in the cartilage. 

Vipers scans returned the same results, with the Venoms medical team suggesting surgery might only be a last resort.

“After studying the scan results, our medical team believe that with guided medication and rehabilitation, the player has a big chance to recover without having to do surgery,” Vipers spokesperson Abdu Wasike told us.

“He started the medication yesterday (Sunday) and there is no need to rush anything. We have to let the process play out and see.”

If all goes well, Okello would only be available in the second round of the season at the earliest.

The figures 

Back to the move to Vipers, once all was out of the way and personal terms agreed, the dotted line was signed and the player unveiled before the Venoms 2-0 victory over Arua Hill on transfer deadline day.

It is understood that the player got a satisfactory deal, with sign-on fee figures of $30,000 (Shs112m), a house and car being thrown about.

However, Okello’s representative Sultan Atubo of NextProSports management agency, who declined to divulge any deeper details of the deal, dismissed the above claims.

“I don’t know anything about those; the house and car,” he said, “All I can say is that both parties are happy, and Vipers handled the whole process with care and very professionally.”

As is the norm, Vipers - like a number of league clubs - take care of players' accommodation among other add-ons. 

Parting ways with Paradou

Moving on, once he is back and fully fit, Okello - one of the most gifted Ugandan footballers - will be a valuable addition to Vipers ambitions.

During his season-long loan at KCCA last campaign, he scored five goals and made eight assists under a rather turbulent technical dugout. The knee issue also affected his output.

In his first spell at KCCA, the boy who announced his arrival with a league hat-trick against Onduparaka in 2017, scored 39 goals in 119 appearances.

At the end of his loan last season, talks with Paradou resumed, with the Algerian club making it clear that while they were open to treating Okello, the injury was received while at KCCA.

Once that was made clear, Paradou reportedly wanted to extend Okello’s contract but on a reduced salary, to which the player’s team objected. 

The two parties then agreed to terminate the contract but with the player getting some compensation.  

Okello factfile  

Full Name: Allan Okello 

Date of Birth: July 4th, 2000

Age: 23yrs 

Nationality: Ugandan

Role: Attacking midfielder

Current Team: Vipers SC

Jersey No: 8 

Former Teams: Paradou AC, KCCA FC

Collective honours

League titles: Two with KCCA in 2016/17 and 2018/19

Uganda Cup: Twice in 2017 and 2018 

Cecafa Kagame Cup: One in 2019

Fufa Super 8 Cup: One in 2018

Individual honours

2019: Fufa Male Player of the Year, Football256 Player of the Year

2018: Young Player of the Year, Airtel Fans Favourite Player