In Summary
  • Soccer. With hardly any club here willing to confirm or deny how much they buy, sell or pay players or do official unveiling ceremonies, transfers remain a touch and go affair.
  • However, most are free agents and receive money to sign not through payment to the selling club.

KAMPALA. Tom Masiko should have been pulling strings in the centre of KCCA midfield last night as they faced Club Africain in the Caf Confederation Cup.

After overcoming longstanding knee injuries, the midfielder started to show his best form illuminated by the winner in a 2-1 victory over the Tunisians here.

Masiko, son of legendary club captain Charles Baker Masiko, would play only two more games for the club as his contract run out.

As the club held their annual awards’ dinner at City Hall Gardens, his agent Musa Ssebulime took to social media, his preferred means of communication.

In a clear message, Ssebulime wrote; “He will be playing somewhere else.” During the dinner, club chairman Julius Kabugo ambushed Tom on the podium.

Kabugo, inappropriately, asked the player if he was staying at club. Like a ‘good politician’, Tom said he would sign a new contract and stay.

For a player who has been at the league and cup champions for seven years, plus his family links, Tom is part of the club furniture.

KCCA stood by him when he suffered knee injuries for a large part of the past two years. This wasn’t enough to sway him.

The player had reportedly received a US$20,000 (Shs72m) sign-on fee to join Lawrence Mulindwa’s Vipers. Allegedly, Vipers first approached the club in April, something Ssebulime couldn’t confirm.

His boyhood club was not offering anything close to that (Kabugo offered the player Shs10m).

In late May, KCCA gave Sadam Juma US$10,000 (Shs36m) to join from Express and Tom saw himself in the same bracket.

Add that Vipers are going to pay him a salary in excess of Ssh1.3m, Shs500,000 more than what KCCA was offering, it’s perhaps a no-brainer for Tom to move on.

With hardly any club here willing to confirm or deny how much they buy, sell or pay players or do official unveiling ceremonies, transfers remain a touch and go affair.

The highest widely reported transfer fees include Hassan Mubiru’s Shs20m from SC Villa to Express in 2000 and Simon Sserunkuma’s Shs16m deal when joining Villa from Victors in 2009.

It’s obvious that Ugandan clubs have paid much more than that to get players.

However, most are free agents and receive money to sign not through payment to the selling club.
Last year, Uganda Cranes vice-captain Hassan Wasswa got Shs40m to join Vipers.

For his ‘transgression’ of choosing Vipers over KCCA, manager Mike Mutebi immediately dropped him from his team, sacrificing the quality he brought even if his contract hadn’t expired yet.

Besides him, there is an ongoing clear-out at KCCA as manager Mike Mutebi has already told midfielders Ivan Ntege and Sulaimon Akinyemi that their services aren’t needed.

In addition, striker Robert Ssentongo has also been told he can leave while winger Brian Majwega fell out with the club and handed in a transfer request.
Ntege is on the brink of signing for coach Ibrahim Kirya’s URA, who finished fourth last season on 48 points, 15 point adrift champions KCCA.

Dissatisfied with finishing third on 51 points and getting knocked out of the Uganda Cup at the quarterfinal stage, Vipers are responding in the market.

Tom will have a new midfielder partner in ex-Villa captain Taddeo Lwanga when the season starts.

Portuguese coach Jorge Miguel Duarte Da Costa has also acquired left back Yayo Lutimba from URA following his loan spell at Express.

However, they are still in the hunt for a striker after Hood Kaweesa opted to stay at Poline with the acquisition of Steven Mukwala (from Buganda Masaza Cup) not the confidence boost Vipers needed.

Losing Lwanga, who came from Express, will definitely make Villa weaker. Coach Wasswa is shoring that up going back his former club Express.

Sserunkuma, Mahad Kakooza and Musa Mukasa have joined from the Red Eagles as well as Agape SS goalkeeper Sanon Mulabi.

Villa, second last season on 58, five points behind KCCA, have lost Umar Kasumba (Sofapaka, Kenya), Denis Kamanzi and Paul Mbowa, the latter two joining URA.

Kirya has also brought in striker Simon Okwi from Sofapaka, combative midfielder Siraje Ssentamu (Vipers) and Charles Ssempa (Lweza) as the window opened last Saturday.

There has been further at Onduparaka beyond relieving Muhammed Shaban of the captaincy and handing it to Rashid Toha.

The Arua side already signed midfielder Rajab Kakooza, striker Karim Ndugwa and goalkeeper Nicholas Ssebwato from Lweza, Sadolin Paints and Bright Stars respectively.
Rashid Okocha joined them from Nebbi Central. It’s the unnerving reports of Shaban leaving for KCCA that should concern Onduparaka the most.

Soana, Bul and Police have been busy too with at least two additions already.

Coach Alex Isabirye has added Swaibu Mudde (Lweza), Farouk Ssentongo (Express) and Muwadda Mawejje (free) to Soana who faded after a good first round last season.
Jinja-based Bul have seen the return of Patrick ‘Crespo’ Asiku, Mike Ndera, Muhammed Didi from Soana, Villa and Sadolin respectively.

Like Bul, Police, who spent the season fighting relegation, will have Norman Ojik (Sadolin) and Juma Balinya (Lweza) to aid their stay beyond 2017/18.
On the other hand, there isn’t much business happening at Express, Proline Bright Stars, Kirinya Jinja SS and Saints.
In fact, Bright Stars is up for sale whereas of the newcomers, Mbarara City, Masavu and Maroons, only Mbarara is active in the market.