Express FC head coach George Ssemwogerere is walking with a rope around his neck. In reality, he has been walking with that rope for the seven months he has been in charge of the club.
Football can be a game of harsh realities, being a crowd favorite at one time does not guarantee immortal status. Ssemwogerere was Captain Marvel, the epitome of the club’s identity during his playing days and his name was chanted in the stands by the adoring fans.
But it is the same set of fans who have ridiculed him since his appointment in February this year. Brought in to replace Kefa Kisala, another club legend who had failed to turn around the club’s fortunes.
Ssemwogerere’s approach and style of play was a cause of concern early on as his team lost 1-0 against BUL FC in his opening game.
Though the red Eagles went on to pick up seven points in their next three games against Maroons, Ndejje and Nyamityobora, there was a sense of fear and anxiety among the fans with the way they played against teams they should be dominating easily.
Four loses in his first ten league games could have been reason for fans to demand for the sack, but the red army stayed patient as they still had a chance at silverware as they reached the Uganda Cup semi-finals.
After they were knocked out of the Uganda cup by Bright stars, Ssemwogerere had his first clash with the fans as they demanded for his sack. The coach however held his ground with Police swooping in to save him from the crowd that threatened to turn violent.
Ssemwogerere’s argument then was that some of the players on the team were not up to the level expected of Express players, plus there was suspected foul play especially among the senior players.
Tony Odur refused to take a penalty in the semi-final defeat, despite being the no.1 choice penalty taker and it justified the coach’s argument.
Ssemwogerere promised a clear out and a massive rebuild. Over 12 players have been shown the exit from the club since as the club underwent a rigorous rebuilding process.
However, the rebuilding process is yet to prove viable and with the kind of start that the club has had, there are fears of the struggles they had during the 2017/18 season, where they survived relegation on the final day.
Express are yet to win a game this season, and their 2-0 loss against Onduparaka means the club are winless in the last four league games.
The coach has insisted he is not one to quit, stressing that his project will bear fruit but patience is a virtue the fans need to learn.
“I have been in this situation before, and there is nothing to worry about. We are playing good football and we have a young team with almost 20 players,” Ssemwogerere said
“We are still looking for the right combinations, and the team is still learning here and there. But I am sure this team will come of age if they are given time,” He added.
Evidebtly, Express are not at the same level they were in 2011. Therefore some performances can be taken regardless of the result, however not the ‘boring’ and unimaginative displays likr the one they had yesterday.
Ssemwogerere’s team have looked out of ideas, with players often played out of position and his insistence on defending has often left the fans frustrated.
There were chants of goodbye from the fans. Express travel to Luzira to face Mbarara City on Tuesday, before they host rivals SC Villa. Failure to win in either games might mark the end of Ssemwogerere at the club.