In Summary
  • Soccer. From Ben Misagga being forced out as club president before the start of the season, to ushering in of William Nkemba-led interim committee, from coach Moses Basena to Douglas Bamweyana, theirs has been a season of hits and misses.
  • It is the hope that kills. A few good results in, including beating Vipers in Kitende, restored some hope but after yet another arrival of over 10 players in January, there was no hiding the disjointed collection he had.

KAMPALA. SC Villa’s chaotic season ended with them surviving relegation (imagine!) and KCCA closing the gap of league titles to within three of the 16-time record champions. And what a campaign it was, for the Jogoos!

Actually, that the 2018/19 champions, KCCA, have claimed the title five times since Villa last won theirs just a few months after Mark Zuckerberg and his friends founded Facebook in 2004 should tell you something.

After failed attempts to live with eventual title winners Vipers and KCCA in the past couple of seasons, the just ended campaign climaxed with the Jogoos needing Onduparaka to beat Ndejje for them to confirm relegation survival with a match to go.

From Ben Misagga being forced out as club president before the start of the season, to ushering in of William Nkemba-led interim committee, from coach Moses Basena to Douglas Bamweyana, theirs has been a season of hits and misses.

Of course Misagga’s departure was unceremonial, and coincided with a player and coaching staff exodus.
In the end, coach Wasswa Bbosa’s successor, Basena, had to start the season with a collection of aspiring footballers and league rejects.

Lack of quality, fan pressure and Basena’s failed attempts to get something from this group saw the experienced coach throw in the towel, leaving the club in relegation places, almost as soon as the season started.
His successor Bamweyana, largely untested in the league, took over, backed by a rich CV for anyone wanting a coach to work on a long term project.

A few good results in, including beating Vipers in Kitende, restored some hope but after yet another arrival of over 10 players in January, there was no hiding the disjointed collection he had.
And this is Villa, the fans will demand the results with or without enough quality in the team.
Soon Bamweyana’s tactics and decisions were questioned by fans and, strangely part of his coaching staff.

Soon they wanted him out, and when Bamweyana suspended some of the players for indiscipline or benched some senior players, his timing and judgement were questioned.
Unclear flow of information to and from management down to the club also hardly helped matters, with enough space left for intrigue to rule.

In the end Bamweyana was not sure who had his back or who was backstabbing him, with some in management and his own staff said to be for or against him.
The one man who had his back to the end was Nkemba but even him never came out publicly to affirm so when the coach was against the wall.

“There are several unresolved issues around the club,” Bamweyana told SCORE ahead of Villa’s 2-1 defeat to Tooro, after which fan pressure forced him to temporarily step aside with one match to end the season.
“I’m focused on seeing the season through; then see what responses we get from our bosses about certain issues - to determine the next set of action(s).”

Anyway, Bamweyana did not see the season through as he took a back seat, but Villa went on to thump relegated Nyamityobora for SIX. Thesewere the same players who would not buy victory in the previous matches.
By the time we published this, Nkemba, his team and Bamweyana were due to meet after their earlier scheduled chat on Wednesday did not come through.

It should be noted that, at least by the time we went to press, Bamweyana was officially still Villa coach. He could as well be for next season depending on what they discuss in the pending meeting.
But whatever it is, it is bigger than Bamweyana. Nkemba and his team have it upon themselves to do something significant long term; something deliberate and strategic to rediscover the club’s soul ahead of next season.

Suggestions

Reconciliation
From those in active football administration, the rebels and those that took leave of absence, there will not be significant progress if they all do not put their put their differences aside and focus on building Villa’s capacity. Nkemba and team are in a privileged position to lead and Villa fans demand that they use their position well to that effect

Fan engagement
The poor communication from management through to media, fans and in some instances to playing and coaching staff has hardly helped this. As a result, fan indiscipline has increased, with some sections even manhandling journalists. The club should dedicate efforts to sensitizing their fans, role an empowered club coordinator could play.

Constitutional review
This business of a powerful club president, who runs the show with no trace of CEO, might not yield much for Villa. An interim committee that came into force last year has also largely been numb. A constitutional review to allow for a board of directors and a fully empowered CEO and chairman will allow the club and systems to function with little or no patronization. That way, even the coach will be empowered to make his own decisions, and facilitated at that.

Improve communication
One of Villa and interim committee’s biggest failings this season, of course apart from their flirtations with relegation, has been the agonizing communication. You cannot claim to be a big club and there is no clear line of communication. As a result, rumour peddling becomes a trademark, hence the confusion that has ruled their season.

Ownership/legal framework
The question of ownership has lingered on for some years now. To date, the transfer of power, if it ever was, from the Fred Muwema-Villa, to SC Villa Jogoo at the height of league/Fufa madness in 2013, remains as mysterious as the actors involved. With reconciliation, this question should be put to bed to allow the club to move forward.

Brand positioning/sponsorships
Finally, Villa are so privileged that they do not have to start from zero. This is a club blessed with support across the country, and their brand is not one to purchase from a supermarket, but one to harness and build on. But for that to happen, they must position themselves as a progressing club, one that has a viable strategy. No sponsors, for example, would want to associate with a club whose matches they cannot attend for fear of being accosted by a section of rowdy fans.