Mutebi: A revolutionary marinated with pride

Friday April 02 2021
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Old and New. Mike Mutebi listens to Morley Byekwaso during a previous Uganda Premier League engagement. Byekwaso has replaced Mutebi as manager at KCCA FC following the latter’s sacking. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO

By Denis Bbosa

Few attributes are more important to success than arrogance. In Ugandan football, axed KCCA boss Mike Mutebi can rightly claim to be the god of arrogance.
Mutebi rose to prominence after injuries forced him into early retirement in the mid-90s, and he has been an irresistible, innovative, commanding and elegant managerial force ever since.

To date, Mutebi, three months shy of six years at Lugogo, was the longest serving coach in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League over the last 10 years. Mutebi’s legend at KCCA was cemented by many memories - good and bad - but few can rule out a fourth reunion with a club he admits to support and willing to die for.

Cecafa miracle
KCCA had witnessed 40 star-laden years come and go without lifting the Cecafa Club Championship until Mutebi pulled the proverbial strings.
He didn’t need then-aptain Timothy Awany, striker Patrick Kaddu and playmaker Allan Kyambadde when he went to Rwanda in July 2019.
Youngsters Musa Ramathan, Mustapha Kiiza, Samuel Kato, Peter Magambo,  Allan Okello and Sadat Anaku did it, outwitting the likes of Azam and TP Mazembe.

Erasing Magreb fear
It was almost a foregone conclusion that a Ugandan club will fold in the presence of North African opposition.
Yes, Mutebi he failed to accrue a win away against Magreb teams but Mutebi did justice to Al Ahly (Egypt), Al Masry (Egypt), Fus Rabat (Morocco) and Club Africain (Tunisia) at home.
Riding on his ‘playing our way’ style even on foreign soil, Mjutebi’s most memorable attempt on the road was the 4-3 loss in Cairo.

KCCA showed no respect to the record Caf Champions League something that drew Mutebi a myriad of critics.
Worth Noting, Mutebi crafted an imperious and enviable home record that saw them lose to only Esperance at Namboole.
“We belong to the same table as these feared clubs, but we still have a lot to do to always be up there with them,” Mutebi would nourish the press after each conquest.
KCCA would defy the odds to reach the Caf Confederations Cup and Champions League group stages.

Winning the elusive double vs Vipers allure
The year 2017 will forever remain vivid in the minds of KCCA faithful. With a perfect blend of the budding and experienced, Mutebi swiftly swept to the league and cup double – another first for KCCA.

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The same year they soared on the continent with Geoffrey Sserunkuma plundering goals for fun – 32 to be precise.
Soon transfer links to Vipers emerged and it took the intervention of then-KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi to ask Mutebi to stay put.
Obnoxious coach, player burst ups
Some say it is in Mutebi’s DNA to express his fury to any player at any time at any venue.
Erisa Ssekisambu, Sadam Juma, Muzamir Mutyaba, Keziron Kizito and lately Juma Balinya can attest.

Word is rife that his altercation with hitherto trusted lieutenant Badru Kaddu coupled with the club board’s claims of insubordination accelerated his exit.
Even the high player turnover, some expelled before making their full seasons, is tagged to this.
Eye-catching pressers, touchline theatrics
Journalists loved and ‘feared’ Mutebi’s press conferences in equal measure. Dare ask an ‘uninformed’ question and you will be met with an equally vague response.

Most local coaches prefer the line ‘the best team lost, it wasn’t our day,’ that is not Mutebi. Even when they win by a seven-goal margin, he will resort to what his team didn’t do and will go for them in unconvincing results.
He mastered 39 losses in 247 games in charge and he tore into his star players 39 times. Whilst prowling the touchline in the last five years, Mutebi was always in his fitting blazers and tie and gave the maverick impression of a man always focused on duty.

Little wonder he drinks from the late Johan Cruyff’s cup just like Man City’s Pep Guardiola.
With time, his touchline exchanges with match officials were halted and all the energies geared at shouting instructions.
On only a few occasions did he celebrate a goal moment – the most visible being Okello and Jackson Nunda’s jaw dropping goals – incidentally all against Onduparaka.

Fans on-off bromance
Thrice, the fans bade for Mutebi’s blood. Mutebi had seen it in his previous two spells (1997 and 2004) when he left acrimoniously. The worst scenario came at Kavumba when an angry mob surrounded him. In good times, the fickle fans adore Mutebi and many were sad to see him leave.
dbbosa@ug.nationmedia.com

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