Having set the bar so high over the years, success becomes part of the club tradition
For the first time in history, record league champions SC Villa have hit rock bottom.
They are 16th in a 16- team top tier league. They are also the only team yet to win a match after seven games with a negative goal difference of five.
This, coming at a time when two great historicals; former club president Franco Mugabe and former treasurer Omar Mandela are back among other stellar names to preside over a smooth power transition.
Engineer William Nkemba, representing the most successful club player generation, is the interim chairman of a new seven man team committee and another former club great Moses Basena, the coach.
Neutral observers may argue that it is normal in football to experience highs and lows. If the club happens to be the most successful in Uganda’s football history, the standards are different.
Having set the bar so high over the years, success becomes part of the club tradition. It’s therefore abnormal for Villa to be sitting at the bottom of the table.
Villa’s pedigree was built on passion, sound administration, visionary leadership, deep pockets, quality players, quality coaches and a huge supportive fan base.
The reasons that explain Villa’s current problems must never be accepted by a Villa faithful.
Many of the founders of Villa who in 1975 birthed a dream are still present. Most of the former players and coaches who built this club into the most successful in the country are still alive.
The supporters clubs and fans who turned Villa into the best supported in the country are still around.
Even better, Villa is well represented at federation level where a good number of high ranking officials are supporters.
It’s inconceivable therefore, that at any point in time, Villa can get to the point when they are the worst performing team in the league. To accept mediocrity for a huge club like Villa is to lose the core spirit of competition.
Only last season, six-time league winners, also 10 time Uganda cup winners Express survived the drop on last day.
Throughout the season, they flirted with this possibility as though it couldn’t happen to them since they are a traditional club.
Credit must be given to the founders who have risen up to provide spiritual leadership and ensure that Villa’s glory is protected and future guaranteed.
Unfortunately, the results on the pitch sometimes tell the best story. The current Villa has a blend of veteran players and youth.
In recent games against KCCA and Vipers, Basena’s team exhibited some great displays and heart. The only reason they lost the two encounters was because both KCCA and Vipers, champions over the last two seasons, are on a higher plane at the moment.
And yet, the loss of four matches in total and failure to win a single game at home, tells a deeper story.
No longer can Villa use the excuse of the previous regime for their under whelming performances.
Clubs like Bul FC, Bright Stars, Ndejje University and Mbarara City have become the surprise packages of the season so far and it’s not because they have better players than Villa or better administrations.
On the pitch however, they look more motivated and hungry to prove that they belong in the top tier division.
Villa are seemingly just going through the motions.
No one outside Villa’s current administration understands the club situation better and this column is not attempting to answer the question.
Top leagues everywhere in the world thrive when the traditional giants who command the fan bases are competing at the same level.
The space that Villa used to occupy, has now been taken by Vipers whose ever growing fan base is one of the impressive signs of progress of the Kitende based club.
The resurgence of Express, who now sit in the top five and recently added a fourth sponsor is a good marker.
Villa needs to do some serious soul searching and fix the cancer that is stopping them from rising above their afflictions.