Express line-up Credit: © Kawowo Sports | DAVID ISABIRYE
[/media-credit] Express line-up for team photo before there 2-0 win over BUL at Wankulukuku Stadium Credit: © Kawowo Sports | DAVID ISABIRYE

The biggest talk of the Uganda Premier League for the past few weeks has been twofolds; who sits at the Apex, and who settles at bottom.

‘’Who of KCCA FC, SC Villa or Viper SC is a trusted candidate for  the League  title?’’  ‘Will Express be relegated’?  A repeated question asked by many worried souls.

The discussion on the latter has struck a bigger punch, yet more of the strike leans on the hope that the oldest club in league football today actually avoids the drop.

On Friday evening, media reports revealed how Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi was no longer the chairperson of the six-time league winners and was replaced by Hajji Hassan Bulwadda.

[/media-credit] Shafik Bisaso, the man doing everything possible in the dugout to make sure Express survive relegation Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

For some time, Nakiwala has been branded the devil responsible for clipping the wings of the Red Eagles from flying at full stretch.

Maybe what many football fans and Express faithfuls however forget, the dark cloud had long hovered over Wankulukuku before the departing chairperson walked through the door.

It was in the early 2000s , when  the cancer began to feast on  the  club. Then chairman Godfrey Kirumira throwing in the towel, was the opening scratch  on the Eagles wing.

There was no proper structure at the time, and there has never been any kind of initiative to have the appropriate structures in place, yet his money peppered over the cracks.

[/media-credit] Godfrey Lwesibawa is tackled by Express Rwandese born defender Omar Hitimana Credit: © Kawowo Sports | DAVID ISABIRYE

In 2009, The club  was a candidate for relegation but stayed afloat thanks to the heroics of Sam Ssimbwa , who coupled the team’s survival with a Uganda Cup triumph.

With No Ssimbwa today, Shafik Bisaso is holding the mantle, and while he is doing all in his powers to avoid the drop, those to give him a hand seem not to be operating at the same wavelength

In their latest league outing, a 2-1 defeat to Bright Stars, Bisaso was forced to leave a number of his players out because the team’s ‘CEO’ had left their licenses behind.

Bisaso later fumbled to assemble a team and lost for the first time in the second round. Losing a winnable game  that should have  brightened  their survival chances, Express faltered again like they have in similar circumstances.

Shafiq Bisaso being unveiled at the Express F.C head office in Mutundwe, last year Credit:

What’s happening at Express right now,  should have been avoided many years ago had the leadership done its due, and not use the team as a political weapon.

Express FC’s plight should serve as a wakeup call to other club administrators. Football is a huge business that requires, hard work, thinking, planning and commitment, less a platform to gain popularity and boost political ambitions – a vice of  the  past.

Teams like URA, SC Villa, Soana, Kirinya, BUL, UPDF and others, should probably pick a leaf. The administration plight, Maybe explains why landing lucrative sponsorship deals today is a headache.

Today, teams like KCCA FC, Bright Stars, Maroons, Vipers and maybe Police can appreciate the need to have structures in place, KCCA FC especially comes to mind.

[/media-credit] KCCA FC and StarTimes’ officials showoff the contracts after both parties entered a Shs3.2b three year deal Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

The reigning league champions are indebted to former chairman Julius Raymond Kabugo. The professional accountant forced some of these things into a bigoted environment, and the dividends are there to be seen.

While other teams are jostling to have just one sponsor on board, KCCA FC have five to showoff and they are hungry for more. They need more, because a football team with the ambitions of the Lugogo side is  hard to maintain.

URA FC on the reverse, have one administrative employee who is at pains to draw work plans to blossom the club.

Credit: © Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE

KCCA FC however, employ a staff who is in charge of the administrative matters of their U18 side-rivals are struggling to even keep a youth team together

Vipers and Onduparaka are few of the teams in the UPL that whose organization has yielded lucrative sponsorship deals with a CEO, an accountant, three administrators, two media personnel, a coaching staff of 10, three groundsmen and three cooks, the Lugogo side is trying to upgrade and match the trend of the international standards.

That’s the legacy, Kabugo left behind at KCCA FC. What legacy will other club presidents, chairmen and administrators leave behind? I want to believe that FUFA has played their part, by putting in place as many football management and administrative courses.

The courses were supposed to be eye openers , yet some administrator’s never opened their eyes at all. And our counterparts in other African countries have began to follow suit. We can today brag about how Uganda boats better talent than South Africa.

Yet South Africa has what we don’t when it comes to  running a successful football business. We have the ability to do that, but we won’t unless we accept to understand the football business at club level, appreciate it and adjust accordingly. Especially the so called sleeping giants who may never wake up.

Senior staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering volleyball, football and badminton

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