Robertinho moulds Vipers ‘Samba groove’ on Byaruhanga

Monday October 11 2021
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The fulcrum. Byaruhanga has become pivotal to Vipers. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE

By Denis Bbosa

Vipers are often accused of trying to buy success and failing at every attempt to acquire the best out of foreign coaches.

This time with Brazilian Roberto Oliviera Gonçalves, aka Robertinho, in charge, they seem to have hit the jackpot.

Backed by Portuguese deputy Marcelo Cardoso, the soft spoken Robertinho rejuvinated the Venoms in the Vipers en route to winning Uganda Cup.

Budding midfielder Bobosi Byaruhanga, who has gone from a workaholic St Mary’s SS Kitende kid in 2019 into a must-have jewel for both Vipers and Uganda Cranes, appears to be the fulcrum around which Robertinho will unleash his ‘Brazilian Samba’ football at Kitende.

“Attacking is my mentality. I love to give my players the liberty to express themselves with the ball, play high up the pitch and play to their strengths. I love winning, and big clubs have to win. It starts with organisation, and from the mind, you have to play offensive football in the final third,” Robertinho told the club website.

It seems Byaruhanga has become the kind of player that the former Gor Mahia tactician wants to control his midfield tempo whilst orchestrating attacks from the deep end.

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While the Kabale-born midfielder’s recent stellar performance has earned him headlining plaudits, Robertinho has brought on board another enterprising playmaker, Bright Anukani, from rivals KCCA. 

The affluence of Vipers midfield, that also boasts of Jamil Kalisa, Siraje Sentamu,David Bagoole and Paul Mucureezi ultimately catapults the Venoms to favourites status ahead of league kickoff.

Manzoki-Sentamu tandem
With a vibrant support cast, first choice forwards Ceaser Manzoki and Yunus Sentamu are expected to plunder goals in gluts. 

The Congolese showed renewed gluttony in the Uganda Cups matches at Njeru, while Sentamu’s four goals in the 8-1 battering of Bul in the final pointed to the fact that retaining the golden boot is within his grasp. Ibrahim Orit, Allan Kayiwa, and Dan Sserunkuma are the other options. 

Robertinho is well aware that insipid football and inconsistent performances at the expense of the club’s hefty investment cost most of his predecessors their jobs within a short time.

“With my experience of African football, l know I can work with Vipers players. We’ll try to create a balance between the offensive and defensive. My strategy is to give priority to my offensive play, liberty and expression, as well as emphasis on the defensive,” he added.

Restoring stability...Dressing room harmony

Vipers burnt their hands while experimenting the West Nile connection that saw them sign Muhammad Shaban and Rashid Toha. Toha has been shipped off to Arua Hill after failing to hold down a slot in defence and his love for the sick bay. Shaban was also ever axed mainly for disciplinary issues.

Vipers owner Lawrence Mulindwa spent exorbitantly on his surgery but Shaban’s two turbulent years at St Mary’s were punctuated by indiscipline and recurring injuries.

At a glance 

Team    Vipers SC 
Head coach    Roberto         Oliveira
Titles    4
Last season    3rd
Projection    1st

Vipers transfer deals 
In 

Bright Anukani
Jack Komakech

Out
Rashid Toha
Bashir Ssekagya
Abraham Ndugwa
Shaban Muhammad

Promoted 
Ivan Ashaba
Mutwalib Mugolofa
Emmanuel Munoobi

Out on loan
Brian Kalumba (to Gaddafi)
Sula Mpanga (to Gaddafi)
Ahmed Amayo (to Onduparaka)
Denis Mwemezi (Tooro United)

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