In Summary
  • Change of guard. Villa should sell off to an institution like Total or Shell or at least get in a management company if only to bring in a culture of assured good governance.

Two months ago, with the Azam Uganda Premier League drawing to its conclusion and Express hanging on to dear life by the skin of their teeth, this column opined that relegation would not be a bad thing as long as it allowed Express FC to fall off the radar into a space of quiet contemplation and action aimed at overcoming its entrenched problems.
Most fans disagreed, and I received the most venomous feedback for this column in a decade. This was to be expected.
Few things raise emotion as much as football, family or food. One particularly reader thought I was a rejoicing Villa supporter who could not help myself.
As it turns out, even if I was a Villa supporter, there would be nothing to gloat about because that club is also undergoing similar administrative problems. Over the last couple of weeks, the leadership has resigned living behind a trail of accusations and counter accusations.
Villa’s problems, just like Express’s and many other clubs, can be traced back to the ownership structure of the clubs.
The fortunes of such clubs and those of their owners tend to flow and ebb in tandem.
This model doesn’t favour institutional growth and the associated governance structure that comes with sustaining institutions. That is the story of most Uganda football clubs. They are all misgoverned.
But SC Villa is blessed with a history of noble gentlemen and last week an interim committee was formed to arrest the situation. None other than William Nkemba, Norbert Kazibwe, Hajj Haruna Jjagwe, Moses Matovu, James Serebe and Joseph Kizito, will look into matters of hooliganism, funding, and player recruitment as well, and guide the club to their next elections.
Honourable as that might be, it is also short-sighted. I think Villa is losing out on an opportunity to bring the beast of mal-administration to its knees. I think Villa should use this opportunity to change its ownership structure.
I don’t know how yet, but since it is clear to me that the problem is governance, Villa should sell off to an institution like Total or at least get in a management company if only to bring in a culture of good governance. I can bet they wouldn’t be short of takers.
And I would recommend this to all clubs who are hostages to the swinging fortunes of big-men. A meltdown is never far off. The instinct is always to get in another rich man who then lifts the mood by tapping into the old-boy circuit for managers and signing of new players or shirt sponsors. But that only papers over the cracks.
All that inspiration will always come up against the insipid nature of the day-to-day running of these clubs, and lose. You see it is not an accident that those clubs in Uganda with institutional backing are also models of well-being. They have their own shares of conflict but when the going gets tough, they have the governance structure to outlive the rich man. It is really that simple.