New-look Vipers target rare title retention feat

Friday December 04 2020
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Big Temperament. Ex-TP Mazembe and AS Vita forward Manzoki comes with a big reputation and must easily adapt and deliver. PHOTO/ JOHN BATANUDDE


History has shown winning back-to-back Uganda Premier League titles is harder than claiming a first, with only one club - KCCA - managing to pull it off the last 10 years.
Truth be told, Vipers will count themselves lucky after being crowned league kings from the boardroom after Fufa halted the season with five matches to go due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coach Fred Kajoba, victorious after just seven games in charge, now aims at proving doubters that they were the deserved champions.  The recruitment drive at Express, URA, KCCA, SC Villa and Bul points to an epic battle ahead.
Kajoba stamped his authority right away on arrival at St Mary’s Stadium Kitende when he replaced Edward Golola in February by bringing his own backroom staff and jettisoning players he felt offered less to the club’s many quests.

Signing according demand
There is a specific expectation tagged on every new signing at Kitende according to Kajoba and none highlights them than former TP Mazembe and AS Vita forward Cesar Manzoki.
The gangly Congolese was brought in to address a dearth of goals that had Fahad Bayo  top with 12. Manzoki will feed off the creativity of fellow recruits Jamil Kaliisa and David Bagoole.

Eyes on Shaban, Lwaliwa
For everything Vipers might want to achieve, they will hope their two strongest pillars - Halid Lwaliwa and Shaban Muhammad are up to the task.
Having recently earned a senior Cranes cap skipper Lwaliwa has been the bedrock of Vipers’ defence and now it gets better that he has added an eye for that vital goal. From a lengthy sick-bay stay, Shaban has to reward Vipers’ faithful with goals as he partners  Manzoki.

Priority vs busy calendar
Club president Lawrence Mulindwa has availed almost all the resources necessary for the Venoms to mount a sensible challenge . They will need a solid league start to stay with the competition.

The pandemic effects that obviously affects the 12th player - will also be on the fringes, ready to condemn playing staff to medical facilities if not cautious.
Kajoba’s seat hotter than ever.
For sacking 12 coaches in 14 years, Vipers top administration is one never to be messed with. Kajoba knows that pretty well and must play to impress. A divided dressing room has always been the cardinal cause of the managerial causalities and Kajoba has thrown in players and aides he can confidently call his. 


The crave for ‘attractive football’, giving academy youngsters a chance and standing up to fellow heavyweights are some of the factors upon which Kajoba’s precarious job hangs.
“I have all the players I would have asked for now.  I’m ready,” said Kajoba.