SOCCER. Onduparaka accuse the coach of announcing his departure live on NTV even before sitting with the chairman to iron out any differences he might have had
Asaph Mwebaze is leaving Onduparaka as the club coach citing maladministration and influence peddling.
The experienced former Maroons coach dropped the bombshell that he was quitting Onduparaka live on the country’s Monday Night flagship sports show on NTV – The NTV Press Box.
“I am not and I won’t be part of Onduparaka FC anymore,” said the outspoken Mwebaze, “We have mutually agreed with the club chairman (Benjamin Nyakun) to end our contract. “We shall sit and agree on the modalities and make a formal announcement but at the moment my tenure with the club has ended.”
Story behind the story
Mwebaze, who spent a combined 20 years in the Maroons set-up, signed a three-year contract with Onduparaka three months ago in what was viewed as an ambitious move from the club.
Coach Mwebaze is one of the astute ones in the country, and his expertise in structured and youth football is well documented.
Patrick Kaddu, scorer of the winner over Cape Verde last Saturday, and Abel Eturude are some of the talents that have gone through his hands.
Mwebaze’s sudden decision comes as a surprise given his talk of the title at the start of the season.
When Mwebaze arrived at the club in August, he expected to be given the same power he had at Maroons; power to organise the club and do his job of a coach without interference.
But Daily Monitor understands that a few days in, Mwebaze was to discover otherwise. “No record books, dis-jointed administration, no clear structures.” This, he told this newspaper off air. You could argue, perhaps, that this was the reason he was brought in, in the first place – to organise the club. Then, why is he whining? The culture at the club, he said, could not allow him.
Player paying coaches
Some of the players questioned why they had to do one hour of class before going to the training ground but they reluctantly attended, anyway.
But there is one peculiar story that happened during Onduparaka’s visit to Fort Portal for the match against Tooro United. One of the senior players, Caesar Okhuti, was tasked to pay out allowances to both players and coaches at the hotel after receiving money over his phone from one of the club officials who was not with the team.
This was staggering. But Adams Otelul, the club media officer, defended the act as okay partly because the person responsible was ill.
“Yes, money was sent through Caesar Okhuti in case you are talking of Fort Portal trip,” admitted Otelul.
“Our head of welfare abruptly fell sick. It’s not a crime to do some managerial things through an experienced player like Okhuti because this soccer club has plans of retaining him as a manager in few years to come.
“It’s a process of preparing him. If the money came through a 19-year-old player, then that would be a problem.”
There have also been reported but unconfirmed undertones of nepotism, with some club emissaries and a host of fans demanding that Mwebaze plays home players.
Livingstone Mbabazi, the Mbarara City coach, allegedly left the club amidst similar undertones, although results had also started going south for him at the time.
“Those stories of tribalism are not true,” said Otelul, “If we were tribalistic, why did we hire Asaph?
“Our goalkeeper Nicholas Sebwato if not from here, our star man Viane Sekajugo is not from here. So that is just rubbish.
“First of all the coach should not have gone on TV to announce this before sitting down with the chairman.
“He texted the chairman and the chairman said let us sit and talk these issues, but instead I’m told the coach has said on NTV Press Box that he is no longer part of us.
“One thing we have to get used to is that this club is one of the most followed and that comes with pressure from fans and all involved. Maybe it got to him. If results are not going well, fans will demand.”
Mwebaze has been in charge of nine games in all competitions with Onduparaka, winning four (one via a penalty shootout), drawing two and losing three.
They have picked just two points from their last three league games, seeing them drop to seventh on 11 points.
Mwebaze’s hitherto assistant Simeon Masaba was due to take charge of the Caterpillars for their league match yesterday.