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UPL: Ssimbwa a bad work man after continued criticism of Club’s transfer policy

URA FC players line up before a league game at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole | URA FC photo

Uganda Revenue Authority Football Club (URA FC) are one of the four clubs together with KCCA, Vipers and Express to have won the Uganda Premier League title in the last decade. The Tax collectors have won the league on four previous occasions.

Add three Uganda cup trophies, and that makes them the most successful club in Ugandan football outside the traditional VEK triangle. But since 2014, the club are yet to win any major trophy in Uganda, with their highest finish since then being 3rd where they finished last season.

Finishing third following a period of mediocrity where they even slipped to as low as ninth during the 2017/18 season, suggested that maybe the club had found their feet again and were ready to challenge for top honors again.

Two men were responsible for turning around the club’s fortunes. Head coach Sam Ssimbwa and Chief Executive Officer Ivan Kakembo. The pair know their way around Ugandan football quite well.

Kakembo has been responsible for restoring order at the club, by ensuring that all departments at the club are fully functioning and responsibilities are carried out by competent individuals. Evidenced by the club scoring 100% in the FUFA club’s licensing exercise before the start of the season.

While Ssimbwa oversaw the turn around of URA’s results on the pitch. He managed to bring URA to within 15 points of the champions KCCA, a significant improvement from the 28 points the season before. They also managed to pick up away victories over KCCA and Vipers.

But the 2019/20 season has not been as impressive for URA as predicted before it kicked off. The tax collectors have lost twice and won as many games in the opening eight games of the league. An almost similar return when compared to their performance at the same stage of the 2018/2019 season.

That could be the case, till you factor in the kind of transfer period they had heading into the season. The club were the busiest in the transfers strengthening significantly for the new season, acquiring 13 new players.

Surprisingly, the club’s transfer policy has caused a ‘rift’ between the coach Ssimbwa, and Kakembo, with the former accusing the club’s secretariat of ‘buying players he does not need and did not ask for’.

“No one should be asking me for results. When everything is done for you as a coach, someone keeps signing players for you, and then they expect you to be getting results,” Ssimbwa told media after his side’s draw against Bright stars.

But according to documents that football-256 is privy of, most of the players that were signed by URA were part of a list that was submitted to the CEO’s office as priority targets that the coach would require.

And according to Kakembo, over 90% of the players bought, were targets pin pointed by the technical team after a meeting to which he (Kakembo) was not part of.

“There have been allegations that we signed players for our coach, but that is false because almost 90% of the players he asked for were given to him, and all those transfers were not because of our own liking,” Kakembo told www.football-256.com.

According to the documents, only Kyetume defender Mugabi Jonathan and SC Villa forward Ambrose Kirya were not signed because they committed somewhere else before the club could agree on deals with them.  

“We all have jobs to do for the club, and as the head of the secretariat, I expect everyone to perform to their best potential in their respective dockets. And that I provide the best for everyone,” He added.

“Ofcourse we have not had the best of starts to the league, but there is no cause for alarm yet, because I still believe we can turn around our fortunes. But surely we deserve better than where we are.”

Ofcourse according to Kakembo, no one is immediate trouble, but the feeling is if results do not change, something or someone is got to give.

URA play SC Villa at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole when the league resumes after the two weeks break on Tuesday 29th, October.

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