- Soccer. Ssimwogerere led Express to three league titles in 1993, 1995 and 1996, and Kakungulu Cup (now Uganda Cup).
- He also played in the semifinals of African Cup of Champions Clubs, now Champions League, where they lost to Orlando Pirates 23 years ago.
Former Express and Uganda Cranes captain George Ssimwogerere believes it will take exceptional run of results for the Red Eagles to survive the drop.
Uganda’s oldest club, Express, remain the only outfit never to have played in the lower division, but omens dangerously look grim, now.
The six-time national champions, with their last title coming in 2012, have endured tough times administratively and financially, which have disturbingly manifested on the pitch.
Coach Shafiq Bisaso’s men go into tomorrow’s Azam Uganda Premier League (AUPL) match against fellow relegation-threatened Mbarara City knowing any further slip will only take them closer to the Fufa Big League (FBL).
The six-decade old club are level on 19 points with Proline and Masavu. Their remaining eight opponents include title contenders SC Villa, Vipers and defending champions KCCA, as well as fellow relegation strugglers Mbarara, UPDF and Masavu among others.
“That is where it is tough,” said Ssimwogerere, who led the Red Eagles to three league titles in 1993, 1995 and 1996, and Kakungulu Cup (now Uganda Cup) in his prime.
“You have teams fighting for the title, you have teams also fighting relegations, so for me I think it will be a miracle for Express to survive.”
Ssimwogerere reckons that Express’ problems emanate from lack of (strong) leadership at the club.
“We need to have everyone associated with Express on the table because Express is for everybody.
“We also need to organise the club in that the chairman is elected in a fair manner, not just appointed by the president or patron.”
Hamza Jjunju has since bounced back as CEO after Express chairperson Nakiwala Kiyingi was shown the exit by fans in February, while Bbale Mugera remains the club president.
Ssimwogerere also accuses the club hierarchy of “not knowing what to do” as he questioned the arrival of George ‘Best’ Nsimbe. Nsimbe is the “technical director” according to Jjunju in earlier reports.
“Now who is the head coach, Bisaso or Nsimbe?” wondered Ssimwogerere. He was speaking to Daily Monitor and NTV’s sports flagship Monday Night programme, the NTV Press Box.
“Who seats on the bench, who determines the team? A strong leader should be able to decide who the head coach is.”
In an earlier interview with Daily Monitor’s SCORE, Bisaso welcomed the arrival of Nsimbe.
“It is happening at Vipers (technical director Eddy Butindo with coach Miguel da Costa), so why can’t it happen at Express?” questioned Bisaso.
Express remaining matches
Tue, April 17: Express vs. UPDF
Sat, April 28: Maroons vs. Express
Tue, May 1: Express vs. KCCA
Sat, May 5: URA vs. Express
Fri, May 11: Express vs. SC Villa
Sat, May 19: Vipers SC vs. Express
Sat, May 26: Masavu vs. Express