At the beginning of this week, SC Vipers appointed former Proline Coach Abdallah Mubiru as head coach on a three year contract in a deal that also inadvertently saw George Nsimbe, the man who guided the team to Uganda Cup victory last season, demoted to assistant manager.
In Uganda dual management for the football clubs is rare and at first blush, it seems almost ridiculous; it’s antithetical to the military-style power structure that most teams have in place and Managers are supposed to be infallible leaders of their own style of play. Or else, how can they gain the respect of their mercenary players but without absolute authority over whether and how they play?
Consider some of Uganda’s top managers: Sam Ssimbwa, Abdallah Mubiru and George Nsimbe, these high profile managers can each coach a club to victory with any super league team.
There are many benefits that can be gotten from such partnerships, which can help clubs win titles and become a power houses in Ugandan football and also help raise their profile in continental football.
That noted, in Uganda a soccer team with two coaches is exceedingly rare and only two examples come to mind, both at KCCA FC. The first also involves George (best) Nsimbe and Abdallah Mubiru during the 2014 league campaign. The second example is drawn from the recent partnership of Sam Ssimbwa and Mike Mutebi.
With hardly a month to go before the Uganda Super League (USL) kicks off, football clubs are strengthening their capacity by not only buying players but also by getting new mangers so that they can compete for the title next season. And in that respect, the re-union of George Nsimbe and Abdallah Mubiru will be witnessed at SC Vipers come the 2016/17 season.
The duo was tremendous for KCCA as they won back to back league titles (2012/13 & 2013/14) and also reached the finals of the Uganda Cup before Nsimbe left for Azam leaving. On Nsimbe’s departure, Mubiru guided the team to third place on the log and also managed to reach the Cup finals again.
KCCA FC also had Sam Ssimbwa as the head coach assisted by Mike Mutebi last season (2015/16) and the duo led the club to its 11th league title.
However, things didn’t go well for Ssimbwa, the CAF A licensed coach after he was banned for 8 months following an exposé involving an audio match fixing scandal. Mutebi took over the team until the season ended.
Ssimbwa was also replaced with Morley Byekwaso on two year contract but now Byekwaso will be the assistant manager.
Vipers SC and KCCA FC can buy and sell players as they deem fit and the two teams can afford to alienate the players they have. Given their history and funds notwithstanding, talent and good management can make both teams challenge for the league title next season.
In is also important to note that both clubs will participate on the African soccer platform, with Uganda Cup champions Vipers in the CAF Confederations Cup and league holders KCCA in the CAF Champions League.
Indeed, with such top managers the teams can raise the Ugandan flag high and go further to may be winning these competitions.
But even with this coaching boom, competitors and other clubs can only do so much to stand in their way and shock these favorites, making them drop the title and dipping the managers in trouble.
Soccer fans in Uganda will have a lot to talk about and reserve their reverence for these top managers if any of the clubs they coach fail to impress next season.