KAMPALA. Charles Ayiekoh found Kirinya-Jinja fighting relegation when he arrived at the Eastern side over a year ago. He was to go on and lead the club to a 10th place finish with 33 points.
And when he took charge of a full season in the 2017/18 Uganda Premier League (UPL) campaign, Ayiekoh guided the team to their highest ever top flight finish - fifth, 10 points better than the previous.
Only champions Vipers, KCCA, SC Villa and Onduparaka finished above them.
So when Ayiekoh talks about potentially winning the 2018/19 league title, he actually does not need medical attention.
“When I arrived at Kirinya, they were fighting relegation. Then last season the target was to finish sixth, we finished fifth,” Ayiekoh, who also coached Mubs, Water and Nyamityobora among other teams, told SCORE.
“Now you want to tell me I should target sixth? I can only look up, and that’s why I tell you I have a right to talk about winning the league.
“Our main target is to finish better than last season. I go for the title and if it fails and we finish second or third, it will not be criminal. All we want is to improve from last season.” Ayiekoh has beefed up his squad for the drawn battle lines, bringing 11 new faces including experienced Cranes defender Isaac Isinde (Builcon - Zambia) and David Bagoole (Bucavu Dawa FC).
His already tested force upfront of Fred Amaku and Joel Madondo only goes to show you how much riches he has.
When Amaku was taken off injured in their 2-2 league opener against SC Villa on Friday, Madondo stepped forward to score both goals for Kirinya.
Ayiekoh, an astute tactician well known for planning and good man-management, credits the administration of the club for the success they have so far registered.
“I believe in planning and good management and once that is in place, I just do my work. The administration of Kirinya-Jinja has been so good to me.”
The club, who are funded by Jinja SSS, extended Ayiekoh’s contract up to 2020, this ensuring stability and continuity.
“That’s why I tell you we have a right to go for the trophy. To me, there is no difference between my players and those at Vipers and KCCA,
“The only difference maybe would be the salary disparity between their players and mine, which motivates players at Vipers and KCCA do more so as not to drop out of the team and lose their pay cheque.”
Kirinya-Jinja’s second game of the season was away to KCCA Tuesday.