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Mulindwa needs to take stock

By Charles Mutebi

Added 19th April 2019 08:45 AM

Mulindwa has been understandably disillusioned by the season, threatening to dismiss the entire team after their 2-1 league defeat to Ndejje University in a typical fit of rage.

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Vipers lost 2-1 to Ndejje. PHOTO: Richard Sanya

Mulindwa has been understandably disillusioned by the season, threatening to dismiss the entire team after their 2-1 league defeat to Ndejje University in a typical fit of rage.

 
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 CHARLES MUTEBI

Vipers started the 2018-19 season by unveiling the new state-of-the-art artificial pitch at their awesome home.

“It (the entire stadium) cost billions of shillings and millions of dollars,” Vipers owner Lawrence Mulindwa cryptically told the press.
 
Next, the club announced the appointment of Javier Martinez Espinoza from Mexico, a big-time coach to lead them to the big CAF Champions League stage. Of course, the customary influx of new signings had already been conducted to ensure the club was ready for a deep run on their third appearance on the continent.
 
Fast forward to the final weeks of the campaign and Vipers trail KCCA by six points in the StarTimes Premier League and bar a major collapse from Mike Mutebi’s team, Mulindwa’s men will complete the season empty-handed.
 
Vipers went as far as the playoff stage of CAF Champions League qualification, an improvement on their first attempt in 2016 when they got dumped in the preliminary round. But that was not the plan. Even then, getting to the group stages of the CAF Confederations Cup would have been a consolation but they were eliminated 3-0 on aggregate by CS Sfaxien in the qualification playoffs after a 0-0 home draw.
 
They subsequently surrendered control of the league race to KCCA before being kicked out of the Stanbic Uganda Cup by Big League side Proline FC. It was a precipitous collapse that naturally cost Espinoza his job.
 
Mulindwa has been understandably disillusioned by the season, threatening to dismiss the entire team after their 2-1 league defeat to Ndejje University in a typical fit of rage.
 
And you can expect several changes for next season, particularly in the player-department. And maybe a new coach, perhaps KCCA’s Mutebi, who Mulindwa reportedly admires.
 
What is not going change, however, is what many advise. Mulindwa’s interference, impatience, unprofessionalism – or whatever it is – in the way he manages his club. That will not go and, unfortunately, it is seen as a big reason for Vipers continuous miscarriages.
 
Passion is a strange customer and it often crosses the line of professionalism when it comes to rich club owners like Mulindwa. They mean well but they are often their worst enemy.
 
Mulindwa has all it takes to build a great Vipers team. He has the wherewithal, a proven academy in St Mary’s Kitende and of course, a great stadium. He does not, however, have the patience for a three-to-four-year team development project, which could be the solution.
 
He is not afraid of change just as long as that change will translate into immediate success. He brought in Espinoza, presumably on high wages, but once the Mexican could not transform Vipers into Ah Ahly in a couple of months, he was jettisoned.
 
It was rash even if nothing new in football. The transfer market is the quickest way to success in the Beautiful Game and Mulindwa has every right to pursue that strategy. But if the aim is long-term success at home and in CAF competitions, it may have to be greatly refined to cut out blunders like Hamis Kizza’s big-money mid-season signing.
 
Otherwise, Mulindwa should exercise a little patience and build a real team. It may take time but if it pays off, the rewards will be enjoyed for years.
 
Email: cmutebi@newvision.co.ug
 
 

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