How Ssimbwa found his match in Kitara

The much-travelled Ssimbwa has found his way to the StarTimes Fufa Big League. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

Ssimbwa, 56, returns to the touchline after close to two years away. His last coaching address was URA.

A prolonged but punctuated, charming laugh infectiously ensued at the other end of the phone. 

 "Ha ha ha… (insert first name of the writer), now that I have got a job you are calling me (ouch!)!" More laughter.

The early exchange of pleasantries was both pleasant and, in some way, piercing - a tale of one day, you are the cock of the walk, next, a feather duster.

He is back!

But he is back! After over a year out of active coaching, Sam Ssimbwa - one of Uganda's most flamboyant and outspoken coaches, is back. 

And as you can imagine, whenever and wherever he goes attracts attention, often in the most dramatic of ways. His new address is no exception.

A supposed short journey to Maroons' home in Luzira, Kampala, instead ended some hundreds of kilometres away in Hoima.

The former Mbale Heroes, KCCA, Express, URA, Tooro, SC Villa and URA coach will, according to Big League side, Kitara FC, CEO Joshua Atugonza, be unveiled at the
 club tomorrow, "Wednesday."

Why Kitara, not Maroons, and how?

Ssimbwa was reportedly due to seal his deal with Uganda Premier League side, Maroons, until the end of the current season last Wednesday.

"But that was not possible because the Commissioner Prisons was away at
Tarehe Sita celebrations," Ssimbwa narrated. 

"So that meeting was pushed to Monday (yesterday). So, in between, the president of Kitara got in touch again.

"I already had a gentleman's agreement with Kitara to join the club in June. 

"The plan was to help Maroons in the second half of the season and hopefully Kitara get promoted to the Premier League and then I take over."

Ssimbwa continued: "With Kitara, I had even assisted them in getting in some players to help them with promotion.

"But then there was some in-fighting with the existing coaches."

Hitherto Kitara coach Mark Twinamasiko was suspended for two months in relation to the above.

Connecting the dots

"So with the gap, Kitara president Deo Kasozi was worried and argued that if I signed with Maroons, it might be hard to get me from there in June," added Ssimbwa.

In his negotiations with Maroons, Ssimbwa wanted an open contract so that a concrete decision over his stay would be decided at the end of the season. 

"That is one contentious point the Commissioner Prisons had to approve first," Ssimbwa explained. 

"Kitara president (Kasozi) also said that with the current coaching situation at the club, they might fail to get promoted. So he told me 'come and we fight together
 for promotion and then in June we get a better contract.

"Also," Ssimbwa continued, laughing again, "the money at Kitara was higher as compared to Maroons."

Asked how much was "higher", Ssimbwa said that it was confidential, but that it is "at least three times higher than Maroons offer."

Ssimbwa, 56, returns to the touchline after close to two years away. His last coaching address was URA.

His target will be to guide Kitara to the Premier League. 

Kitara currently lead their table in the second division with 31 points in 15 games.

Although they lost their main man Patrick Kaddu to Gor Mahia in this transfer window, Kitara have brought in attackers George Ssenkaaba, Paul Mucureezi and Godfrey Lwesibawa.

Fact file

Name: Sam Ssimbwa

Age: 56

Coaching qualification: Advanced license from Germany (DFB) in 1996

Club management honours

1999: Kakungulu Cup with Mbale Heroes

2007: Kakungulu Cup with Express

2012: Super League with Express, the club’s first in 16 years

Ssimbwa also coached at KCCA, Health, Military Police, Simba SC, Sofapaka, SCVU, SC Villa, Tooro, URA, and briefly Somalia national team 
Cranes tenure

Assistant to Mohamed Abbas in 2005, then to Laszlo Csaba, and finally to Bobby Williamson. In that assistant role, Ssimbwa won two Cecafa titles (2008 and 2009).