He will lead a five-strong technical team in the interim, which includes Moses Oloya as goalkeeping coach.
By Joseph Kizza
KITENDE - Uganda Premier League side Vipers SC have appointed Kenyan Michael Ouma as caretaker head coach until the end of the season, 24 hours after sacking Mexican Javier Martinez Espinoza.
He will lead a five-strong technical team in the interim, which includes Moses Oloya as goalkeeping coach and Edward Ssali as trainer.
Ram Nyakana is also part of this team as strength and endurance coach.
The Kitende-based club said they would reveal the fifth member "sooner than later once all documentation is finalised".
Apparently, Ouma has pledged to preside over more team cohesion and creativity as the club looks to move on. His first assignment is three days away.
The league's defending champions have an away game on Wednesday against URA FC, and the new team has since hit the ground running.
According to the club, they got down to work Sunday evening with a training session ahead of the trip. The match will be played at Namboole Stadium.
Vipers were good on their word after revealing on Saturday that they would in 24 hours make "major announcements on the technical team" after parting ways with Martinez, whose stay at St. Mary's Stadium was cut short four months into the job.
The 46-year-old tactician had signed a two-year contract in August, but a string of frustrating results have been his undoing.
We can confirm that a 5 man interim technical team has been appointed to take the Venoms forward until the end of the 2018/19 season. https://t.co/2tUyMNVBt9— Vipers Sports Club (@VipersSC) December 30, 2018
Another one through the exit door
The revolving door at St. Mary's Stadium has seen yet another foreign coach leave the club and another walk right in hours later in the form of Ouma.
Exactly 146 days ago, Martinez was introduced to the public as the defending champions' new boss, taking over from Portuguese Miguel da Costa, who had been fired after winning the league title.
The Mexican's arrival was the third foreign appointment by the club headed by former FUFA chairperson Lawrence Mulindwa. Nigerian Ambrose Chukuma had also previously taken the wheel.
Nearly five months down the road, Martinez won't complete his initial two-year deal.
Three-time Ugandan league champions Vipers have big ambitions.
Since starting off their metamorphosis by changing name from Bunamwaya FC to Vipers SC in 2012, the club has seen their status elevated from being limited to playing only local football to more lucrative continental engagements.
But participation on the continent, which comes with winning either the Premier League or the Uganda Cup - which Vipers have - has not been satisfactory.
After winning the 2010 league title, it was a no-show at the 2011 CAF Champions League because of financial reasons. And while they were more prepared to play in the 2016 edition after clinching the league title, Vipers failed to go beyond the preliminary round - eliminated by Enyimba FC of Nigeria.
The following season, it was a first round exit for the club in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup, which they took part in after winning the Uganda Cup.
This time around, the holders again came up short on the continent, failing to progress to the group stage of the Champions League courtesy of home-and-away defeats to Algerian side CS Constantine.
Martinez oversaw the latest piece of continental frustration - and he will not have a chance at redemption as Vipers, who have since been relegated to the CAF Confederation Cup, next meet Tunisian giants CS Sfaxien in the playoffs early next year.
Vipers SC has this evening terminated the services of its head coach Javier Martinez Espinoza.— Vipers Sports Club (@VipersSC) December 29, 2018
The club management thanks the Mexican tactician for the services rendered to the club.
Vipers SC shall in the next 24 hours make major announcements on the new technical team. pic.twitter.com/WdSwyiwEkU
Away from the continent, Vipers under Martinez were doing fairly good domestically.
He left the club unbeaten this season in the league, having mustered seven wins and four draws from their 11 games played so far.
Trailing KCCA by five points, the Venoms can overtake their closest challengers if they win their two games in hand.
Saturday's goalless draw at home against Tooro United may have sealed Martinez's fate, but tougher tests lie ahead.
With Ouma and co in charge now, the club will travel to fifth-placed URA keen to kick off the new year on a high.
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