Having won Vipers SC their second league title and being named the best coach of the league in May 2015, it showed that the soft spoken and German trained coach, Edward Golola was on top of things at Vipers SC and all would be well in the forth coming season.
At the start of the 2015/16 season, Golola had insurmountable challenges to defend the league, compete in CAF and CECAFA Championships as well as go a step better in the Uganda Cup.
The preparations for the new season started well for Golola as his squad was bolstered by the acquisition of Shafiq Bakaki, John Semazzi (both from Express FC), Erisa Sekisambu (SC Villa), Duncan Seninde (KJT Rwenshama), Brian Nkuubi (Kira Young) and William Wadri (KCCA FC).
In preseason, Vipers won unprecedented number of build-up games and the FUFA Super Cup which they had to play for almost an hour with ten men following the red card to defender Halid Lwarilwa. Vipers went on to lift the cup after overcoming arch rivals SC Villa 5-3 on penalties after regulation time ended goalless.
Fast forward, in the opening two league fixtures at Buikwe, Vipers overcame new comers Saints FC and JMC to claim 3-0 and 1-0 victories respectively sending an early warning signal to the opponents that it was indeed a team to beat.
The team’s performance has taken a different twist lately, with Vipers picking up only one win, drawing thrice and losing three times in the last seven league outings. This has marked the worst poor run of results for the league’s defending champions since 2008.
Vipers have since lost to Police, URA and Express, drawn with Sadolin and Lweza whereas it has managed to pick maximum points from Maroons FC in a narrow 1-0 win at Buikwe.
Perhaps there’s a lot to tell following Vipers’ shock defeat on Boxing Day at Mutesa II Stadium Wankulukuku at the hands of Express FC who came into the game having lost four consecutive league games.
On the other hand, Vipers was under pressure to win the game not only to keep in touching distance with run-away table leaders KCCA but they had not lost a league game to Express in as far as the last seven years.
Express proved to be a better side on the day netting twice in the second half with no response from the visiting Vipers SC despite having the 2015 Male Footballer of the year Farouk Miya, CECAFA Golden Glove winner Ismail Watenga and a host of other stars starting the game.
The loss moved Vipers down the league table to third, level on 25 points with second placed Police FC who have a better goal difference.
In a post-match interview, Vipers’ playmaker Farouk Miya was quick to rule out fatigue as a reason for his quiet performance.
“We played as a team, gave our best but we lost, that is football” conceded Miya the 2015 CECAFA winning captain who was starting his first game for the club after sitting out the last two games.
“I must give credit to our opponents (Express). They were a better side and deserved to win” added Miya.
Vipers coach Edward Golola was very furious at the final whistle and had no kind words for his troops
“Am very disappointed at the way the team has played today. We did not create chances and could not defend well. The two goals we conceded were avoidable” said Golola.
Golola revealed that, the technical team ensures the team prepares well and is given the necessary tactics for the game. The players ought to commit themselves and translate all that into a good performance on the pitch and hence the results.
Vipers’ assistant coach, Richard Wasswa seems to agree with his superior Golola
“The players do not have that fighting spirit any more. We believe we have the best players and as such we expect them to rise to the occasion and show the difference” said Wasswa.
With the league’s second round ahead and a CAF Champion League game against Enyimba of Nigeria in sight, Vipers need to rediscover their winning touch to stand a chance of being competitive this season.