When the fixtures for the 2014/15 season were finally released, I tipped KCC FC to retain the title but that emphasized that it won’t be easy as teams like URA FC, Vipers SC and SC Villa looked equally good.
After the first round and the business in the window, my mind tilted towards SC Villa and Vipers SC but still thought KCC FC despite losing Brian Umony and Brian Majwega were still in the mix.
However, with six games to go, I finally accepted and believed that Vipers would win it and eventually, they didn’t disappoint.
Now that they are the undisputed champions, here are the Seven Reasons why I think they did win the championship.
St. Mary’s Kitende aka La Masia
Like it or not, the presence of St. Mary’s Kitende as Vipers’ academy has played a great role in their championship.
90% of the players at Vipers SC have roots at Kitende and fortunately, the school; reigning champions of the Copa Coca Cola Schools Championships is coached by Edward Golola who at the same time is head coach at the league champions.
Continuity & Consistency in playing and Coaching Staff
Recycling has been the order of the day at Ugandan clubs from coaches to players but not at Vipers SC.
In fact almost all the players at the club have only played for one club bar Mike Mutyaba, James Alitho, Saddam Juma, Vincent Kayizzi, Ismail Kazibwe, Yusuf Mukisa and Julius Malingumu.
Besides, Mutyaba, Kazibwe and Saddam are inborn Vipers products.
Then come to the coaching team, they’ve been there for ages and 95% were part of the 2010 title winning side.
Bar the 2012/13 season when the team was interfered with bringing Nigerian Coach Ambrose Chukuma on board, consistency has been key at the club.
Stability in Management
If there is a club in Uganda that you must envy for its Organisation in management, it’s Vipers SC. Right from the top to the bottom, the club is well managed with little or no squabbles like it is or has been at their opponents.
The bankroller Lawrence Mulindwa doesn’t interfere in how the club is run on a daily basis and or if he does, it’s not public as it happens elsewhere.
With stable management, the players were always assured of their pay and played as a unit.
Mental Strength and Character
When Vipers SC went top of the Premier League table, they kept there, re-establishing their lead every time SC Villa have got to within breathing distance of them. While SC Villa have faltered at vital moments, KCC FC made a slow start and URA FC have stuttered their way through the season, Vipers have managed to come through sticky patches of form unscathed bar the shocking 2-0 loss to Rwenshama. The ability of Golola’s team to grind out a result or find a vital late goal has been second to none. Vipers have always bounced back from a bad result, and lost just once the entire campaign.
Consistent Team Selection
There is a core group of players who have started Vipers’ games whenever they are available.
That includes Farouk Miya, who is hardly ever taken off either, something that is rare for an attacking player.
Then Keziron Kizito, Mike Mutyaba and Patrick Ssembuya plus Nicholas Wadada, Musa Malunda and Yusuf Mukisa at the back plus Ismail Watenga in goal.
Performance against teams in the top four/ fellow competitors
Of all fixtures amongst teams in the top four, Vipers have lost none. They drew 2-2 home and away against URA FC, beat KCC FC and SC Villa 2-0 away from home and drew 2-2 and 1-1 respectively against them at home.
They sit top of the ‘top four’ table on 8 points with only KCC FC matching them whilst SC Villa 6 and URA 6 follow that order.
The performance against fellow competitors was very imperative in swinging the title to Buikwe.
We have witnessed player unrests at certain clubs. We have seen sour relationships amongst players, coaches and management at most clubs but not at Vipers.
The discipline at the club portrayed right from the outside to the pitch has been paramount.
Vipers SC 2014/15 Squad:
Goalkeepers: Ismail Watenga, James Alitho and James Ayeebwa
Defenders: Nicholas Wadada, Deus Bukenya, Dan Birikwalira, Ismail Kazibwe, Musa Malunda, Edward Ssali, Yusuf Mukisa and Harid Lwaliwa
Midfielders: Farouk Miya, Patrick Ssembuya, Siraje Sentamu, Keziron Kizito, Abraham Ndugwa, Ibrahim Saddam Juma, Joseph Mpande, Allan Kyambadde, Mike Mutyaba, David Owor and Vincent Kayizzi.
Strikers: Moses Batali and Julius Malingumu
Those who left in the January Window: Daniel Oyirowth, Joseph Bwaniika and Med Kibirige