Isabirye revels in Vipers' double delight

Vipers coach Isabirye poses with the two trophies he has delivered in his first three months at the club. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

Alex Isabirye, who had aided Bul sabotage Vipers' double dream last year by lifting the Uganda Cup, employed an iron-fist approach against Angelo Lonyesi's Cops to earn the Venoms their third cup triumph.

Vipers affable gaffer Alex Isabirye  was emotional after guiding the club to their maiden league and cup double.

Under the scorching heat at the Akii-Bua Stadium-Lira on Saturday, Isabirye came close to shedding tears  after his Venoms beat Police 1-0 in the poorly attended Stanbic Uganda Cup  final to complete a rare double.

Isabirye, who had aided Bul sabotage Vipers' double dream last year by lifting the Uganda Cup, employed an iron-fist approach against Angelo Lonyesi's Cops to earn the Venoms their third cup triumph.
He couldn't  hide his overflowing  emotions as he hugged the StarTimes Uganda Premier League and Uganda Cup trophies  with sobs of happiness after a nail-biting contest resulted in his fourth cup winning victory as a coach.

Two-month miracle 

Plucked from Bul on March 12 to save a sinking boat, Isabirye's immediate tasks at Vipers were; to restore player morale, arrest a damning goal drought and return the club on the title path.

By and large he succeeded albeit inconsistently and with less colour.

"I came to Vipers about three months ago, the club had gone many matches without even scoring a goal and many had expected me to fail.

"Now here we are, and I'm happy that I have proved my critics wrong," he said with a tinge of satisfaction.

He is right to pride his coup having won eight of the 16 matches he has been in charge at the St Mary's Stadium in Kitende and lost three - a feat that even the more demanding and trigger happy club director Lawrence Mulindwa will applaud.

Isabirye's personal trophy cabinet is also bulging - and the former URA, Bul, Kyetume and Nyamityobora coach has already won two league titles in his career.

Cagey tie

As the outright favourites, Vipers  began the game in a more commanding  fashion, searching for an early goal to calm the nerves. 

Skipper Milton Karisa  broke the deadlock on 16 minutes as he headed in Bright Anukani's corner unmarked in the box. 

Though the Venoms  continued to impose themselves on dark horse Police,it wasn't all easy as the opponents closed the spaces and played without fear.

In fact, Police, losing their third finals, passed the ball around better and wasted two grit edged scoring chances.

Vipers' few traveling fans cared less about the team's demeanour on the field but lauded their bravery to hold on to the slim win come off with the historic double.

The chance to represent at the Caf Confederation Cup slipped through the Policemen's hands to KCCA that finished second in the league. 

Stanbic  Uganda Cup


Police 0-1 Vipers

Vipers road to Uganda Cup victory 

Round of 64: Bujumbura 0-0 (6-4 pen)
Round of 32: Jinja North 0-0 (7-6 pen)
Round of 16: Wakiso Giants 2-2 (4-3 pen)
Quarterfinals: Calvary (4-1)
Semifinal: Bright Stars (4-1 on agg )
Final: Police 1-0

Winners cash prize

Winners - Shs50m
Runners-up - Shs25m
Semifinalists - Shs12m
Quarterfinalists - Shs6m
Round of 16 - Shs3m
Round of 32 - Shs2m

Uganda Cup winners since 2010

2010: Victors
2011: Simba
2012: URA
2013: SCVU
2014: URA
2015: SC Villa
2016: Vipers
2017: KCCA
2018: KCCA
2019: Proline
2020: Not held due to Covid19 
2021: Vipers
2022: Bul
2023: Vipers 

Most Uganda Cup trophy winners

10 – KCCA, Express
9 – SC Villa
3- URA, Vipers
2 – Simba, Coffee, Mbale, Victors
1 – UEB, Nsambya Old Tymers, Victoria University, Proline, Bul

Stanbic Uganda Cup awards

Best goalkeeper - Fabien Mutombora (Vipers)

Best defender - Ashraf Mandela (Vipers)

Best midfielder -  Amisi Semugera (Police)

Top scorer - Emmanuel Loki (Bright Stars), Five goals

Most assists - Ibrahim Kasinde (Bright Stars ) Five assists

Isabirye's Vipers report card

Played: 16

Won: 8

Lost: 3

Drawn: 5

Goals scored: 23

Goals conceded: 10