Stojanovic delivers Serbian magic for SC Villa

SC Villa coach Dusan Stojanovic. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

What you need to know:

Mandela then sought advice from a trusted  source in Micho who recommended country-mate Dusan Stojanovic.

SC Villa dominated Uganda football reeling off seven straight league titles between 1998-2004.
 A certain Serbian, Micho Sredojevic, can lay claim to having played a substantial part in that history-making phase.
Micho was in charge of the now 17-time league champions between 2002-2004 winning two straight titles before playing an integral part in the third.
Such was his influence at the time that he presided over an unbeaten first round run in 2004 that included an incredible 14 wins in 15 first round games before his sudden departure.
The wheels nearly fell off thereafter with the team going on to lose four games in the second round before stumbling to the finish line with a nine-point advantage over KCCA.
Since then, Villa have rarely competed, going close in 2015, 2017 and 2018 when their title pursuit collapsed after an April defeat to Vipers ended their challenge as they finished third.
Many coaches have since come and gone during that 20 year period that included flirtations with relegation.

Stojanovic delivered the magic. 

That would however change in 2021 when Omar Mandela returned to the team as club president. They would compete favourably two years later before agonising final day disappointment saw them miss out on the title after losing to URA.

Mandela then sought advice from a trusted  source in Micho who recommended country-mate Dusan Stojanovic.

And while his side can hardly be described as an efficient machine, Stojanovic endeared himself to the Villa faithful by instilling a vibrant attacking brand of football that eventually culminated into the title.

His team made a slow start winning just one of their opening five games and losing twice in the sequence.

The team however went on to lose to just one more team in the entire season as KCCA did the double over their traditional rivals.

In between, Stojanovic stamped his authority on the team, dropping the more experienced Media Kibirige for Angufindru in goal.

The decision was coupled with more stability to shield the goalkeepers as the backline marshalled by the ever present captain Kenneth Ssemakula, Arnold Odong, Joseph Kafumbe, Gavin Kizito kept eight clean sheets in the subsequent 15 games.

It is in attack where Stojanovic has impressed neutrals with his midfielders and forwards allowed to express themselves. Ronald Ssekiganda has dictated play  with his calmness on the ball and wide range of passing a joy to behold.

Patrick Kakande also flourished, scoring nine goals and contributing four assists as another contender for the league’s best player award. 

That, however, hardly tells the whole story with the diminutive attacker constantly producing moments of magic that were wasted by teammates.

That wastefulness reached its nadir with Villa wasting several goal scoring opportunities in the first half of a 2-1 win over Mbarara that culminated in Villa president Mandela reportedly shoving midfielder Sekiganda who returned for the second half in tears.

With the handbrakes off, Villa scored 40 goals in 29 games this campaign. And while that was only the fourth highest tally this season, the number represents a significant 13-goal improvement from last season when Villa scored a paltry 27 goals in 28 games.

SC Villa fans have found joy again. 

The manner in which Villa conducted themselves on the final day also speaks volumes of Villa this season. 

Where they folded in a 1-0 loss to URA on the final day of last season, Villa and especially Stojanovic, stayed calm against Nec as fans called for the substitutions of the team’s attacking players following a below-par first half.

They were then able to conjure up two moments of magic with Umar Lutalo delivering an inch perfect cross for Charles Lwanga to head in the first goal before a mazy run and good hold up play from Kakande set up Hakim Kiwanuka for the second goal on 75 minutes to seal a 2-0 win that delivered a first title in two decades.

With the result secured, the two goal scorers would later be taken off to further emphasize Stojanovic’s influence.

Dusan Stojanovic

Age: 42

Date of birth: September 5, 1981

Place of birth: Jugoslawien (SFR) Belgrad

Citizenship: Serbia

License: Uefa A

Education: Bachelor's Degree in Sports Studies

Teams coached: OFK Beograd (2005-2012), assistant head coach at FK Cularicki (2013-2016), assistant head coach at FC Krasnodar (2016-2017), coach at FK Crvena Zvezda (2018-2019), assistant head coach at Zamalek (2019-2020), assistant head coach with Zambia national team (2020-21), coach at FK Vojvodina, deputy head coach at FK Rad (2022)