In football , many a match result start in the boardroom. If Bidco Uganda Limited (Bul) doubted this last season, the reality was a vicious slap in the face. A perfect start to the 2019/20 StarTimes Uganda Premier League (UPL) season under the guidance of Peter Onen saw the Jinja-based outfit pick up 29 points from 15 games in the first round.
They had only lost to cross-town rivals Busoga United and eventual champions Vipers in that run and were just seven points behind the Venoms. As wind blew at window panes of the Bul boardroom and took with it the top leadership as well as the coach, the club could only managed seven points in the second round enroute a sixth-place finish.
The wind in the boardroom that reflected in their season second-half results is no more. In that calm, Ronald Barente assumed the Bul chair from Silver Aliasi and proceeded to replace chief executive Saleh Salmin with Ahmed Kongola from Busoga United.
So will it work?
Much as the answer would depend on the standards for which the club has set for themselves this season, a continued title drought (they have never won a title of any kind going into their 10th successive season in the topflight) and finishing anything below sixth this season would be as sticky as oil is slippery for Bul.
Barente’s restructuring started with a push to return to Kyabazinga Stadium in the heart of Bugembe, a bustling township of some 33,000 people. The club believes that, at Bugembe, head coach Arthur Kyesimire will enjoy the kind of fanbase Bul lacked when it acted the nomad by playing at different venues. Last season, Bul hosted their games from Fufa Technical Centre in Njeru. Fans had to commute the 8km distance to support their club. But at Bugembe, the Bul faithful will enjoy true home comfort.
Where several UPL clubs are in the hole, a situation worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, Bul have hardly had a financial blip. A staggering Shs1.5b budget for the new season pits them shoulder to shoulder with KCCA and Vipers as well as institutional club URA on the kitty shelf.
But URA, Vipers and KCCA know how to translate that kitty into titles, Bul are still trying to figure out how to finish in the top three - their best ever being fifth place for two successive seasons 2013/14 and 2014/15. However, unlike his counterparts Fred Kajoba at Vipers and Mike Mutebi at KCCA, Kyesimire is under no pressure to deliver. This is a club contented with calculated steps.
However, Kyesimire must know that Bidco is not some charitable organisation. He was already well-cushioned in goal with the gloves of Abdu Kimera and Sanon Mulabi but in former Police’s Davis Mutebi, there is more assurance between the sticks.
Mutebi’s signature appears invaluable. He is good against shots and reflexes, and his ball distribution both from throws and counter-attack kicks can be crucial. “I believe the new signings can really make a difference for us,” he Kyesimire said. “We are looking forward to having a greater season ahead with this Bul project.”
WAVE OF CHANGE
New Signings. Kenneth Semakula, Kenneth Kibbale, Douglas Bithum, Paul Mbazira, Peter Onzima, Davis Mutebi, Aggrey Madoi, Ibrahim Mugulusi, Mustafa Anwaru
Graduated. Reagan Kalyowa, Thomas Kabaale,Simon Peter Oketch, Aprem Martin, Hamis Tibita
ABOUT BUL FC
Nickname: The Eastern Giants
Home Ground: Bugembe Stadium
Chairman: Ronald Barente
Head Coach: Arthur Kyesimire
Captain: Denis Okot Oola
Best Ever Finish: 5th
Last Season: 6th