Star Times Uganda Premier League side Mbarara City’s newly appointed head coach Paul Nkata has already divided opinion among club faithfuls, even before he has taken charge of his first game at the club.
Nkata joined the club on Tuesday this week, replacing Brian Ssenyondo who was in charge on interim basis.
Nicknamed ‘Latest’ for his silky playing style plus introducing unseen before dribbling skills during his playing days, Nkata is one of the most knowledgeable and respected coaches of the game in Uganda and the region.
His track record as a coach includes winning a league and cup double with Kenya’s Tusker FC in 2016, guiding SC Villa to the 2001 Uganda Premier league as well as winning the Uganda Cup with URA in 2012.
However, Nkata’s respectable career took a down turn that still haunts him. In January this year, Kenyan side Kakamega Homeboyz fired Nkata, his assistant Hamza Kalanzi and a couple of first team players under accusations of match fixing.
Kakamega accused Nkata of allegedly fixing games against Sony Sugar and Mathare United, which the club surprisingly lost.
Though a case has since been filed with the Kenyan Police, and investigations into the matter carried out, a statement has not been issued against the matter; but Nkata remains a haunted man.
And his new side Mbarara city are no strangers to such allegations. Former goalkeeper Ali Kimera was investigated upon and subsequently sacked for match-fixing after two horrendous errors against SC Villa last season.
Former coach Livingstone Mbabazi was also accused by a section of fans for his role in their 2-0 loss against Onduparaka. A coach with a similar background is one who the fans will not take to lightly.
“The appointment of Nkata is a big concern to us, we are not sure if he won’t be involved in match fixing which may affect our club,” a Mbarara city fan narrated to www.football-256.com before adding
“If Ali Kimera was chased at the club for mistakes he did against SC Villa and the top officials attributed it to match fixing then how about bringing someone who was allegedly involved in the act! We are here to witness.”
However, aside from the match-fixing saga, Mbarara city’s appointment of Nkata may prove to be an inspired one, as his experience in the game and approach is one that the fans have been crying out for.
With the kind of football they played under Mbabazi, and the fruits it yielded for the club, Nkata will definitely replicate the same brand of football.
How much time he gets to put his methods to work remains the other big question especially as the club are in dire need of getting a steady rhythm of results after their stop-start campaign so far.
Nkata will return to the Ugadna Premer league close to two years since his last appointment at URA ended with a 7-1 drubbing by KCCA at Lugogo. His first task back will be against Busoga United on 1st October.