Once the club allowed a repeat of the internal infighting that allowed their founder to part ways with the club, the seed was sown
A team homeless, a club in disarray. They battled relegation from beginning to end of last season, swapped leadership, fired coaches and brought in new players. But Uganda’s most successful club over the last 38 years, SC Villa, remain in a shambles.
As Uganda National Roads Authority tractors blazed and dug the terrain across the Villa Park training ground to pave way for the construction of the Kampala Flyover, there was a sense of Deja vu.
Wembley training ground on Kyaggwe Road, Nakivubo War II Memorial Stadium, former Kampala High playground are all gone. For the classic local football fan who was there before the 1990s, it’s starting to look like a completely different city
Government and the city developers call it re-development and forward-thinking for a city many Ugandans are still embarrassed to call their capital city. No problem in Uganda Railways claiming their land and certainly, there’s no fault in UNRA undertaking to compensate the lawful claimants.
The problem is with football fans; most significantly, Villa fans understanding what’s going on. As expected, the guns have pointed towards Kampala Capital City Authority for being ‘insensitive’ to the communities in Nsambya, Kibuli, Makindye and downtown Kampala.
Yet before dwelling on the timing of the eviction, Villa would do better carrying out a scientific postmortem of what has practically destroyed their club that brought such rich heritage in Ugandan football. As it stands now, they are without a home training ground or a place they call home. KCCA, UNRA or the Ugandan Government has had no hand in the club’s boardroom collapse or club health over the last decade.
Once the club allowed a repeat of the internal infighting that allowed their founder Patrick Kawooya (RIP) to part ways with the original Villa to form Villa International in the mid-1980s, the seed was sown.
Bring on Fred Muwema at the start of the current decade and there was ready-made opposition which created Villa 2 with full allegiance to the federation of the day. And then, just recently during the Engineer Ben Misagga days, another Villa was refined claiming to be the true shareholders. This group instituted an interim committee chaired by another Engineer William Nkemba with the patronage of FUFA but a year after, Villa is worse off than they were before.
Villa; if it still exists as a club, are in no position to moan the loss of Villa Park. Too many individuals have had vested interests and they have succeeded in misleading many innocent fans whose only interest is the team. With a week to the start of the new 2019-20 season, the club are still grappling with coach and player issues. The club that prides itself in its community identity is anything but. Their outdated constitution has failed to direct them on the next steps, leaving the federation to use its mandate to direct them.
Having seen the once most populous club in the country Express FC, descend to relegation strugglers in back-to-back seasons, it’s not overstretching the possibility that we could be seeing through Villa’s last days.
Last nail in the coffin
The youth who form Villa’s biggest fan base are frustrated that there is nothing for them to cheer and support these days. Villa Park was the easiest way to bring the loyal sect together and re-invoke the fans spirit of old. Take away the training ground of history, and you have put the last nail in Villa’s coffin.
What is left now for Villa is for fans to invoke famous names that they assume are still with them and could come to their rescue anytime, but the evidence shows otherwise.
Franco Mugabe and Omar Mandela; the rich moguls who once bankrolled the club with selflessness and passion, were instituted on the current board that is overseeing the club management, but these are unwilling to burn their fingers again.
A rival fan like yours truly would, on another occasion, celebrate the fall of the once-mighty Jogoo but on this, even I can’t avoid shedding a tear.