On Saturday, Vipers suffered their first defeat of the season in a game they also conceded their first goal of the campaign.
That marked four games in a row without a goal for the Venoms who were the highest goal scorers last season in all competitions.
In the run, they have drawn goalless with Soltilo Bright Stars, twice with TP Mazembe, and now defeated by KCCA.
“We lost three key players from last season – Ceaser (Manzoki), Halid (Lwaliwa), and Bobosi (Byaruhanga) and we haven’t replaced them yet,” says the Brazilian coach at almost every post-match presser.
He could be right given Manzoki was the club’s top scorer and Bobosi scored some goals too but it’s the tactics that are limiting his team going forward.
His defensive strategy can be forgiven in the games against TP Mazembe but not against KCCA on Saturday.
At the MTN Omondi stadium, Lugogo, the Brazilian went with a three-man defense of Murushid Jjuuko, Livingstone Mulondo, and Hilary Mukundane in addition to wingbacks Disan Galiwango and Ashraf Mandela.
That literally meant five defenders and in addition, two defensive midfielders – Marvin Youngman and Olivier Osomba taking the total of defensive-minded players to seven on the pitch.
He realized it early in the game by substituting Youngman for Bright Anukani and that is when the team started to threaten.
Secondly, Manzoki played as a big center-forward whose hold-up play and ability to bring forwards to the party was imminent.
In signings Cromwell Rwothomio and Nigerian Abubaker Lawal, they have players that bring close to what Manzoki provided but it seems they don’t have trust of the technical staff.
In addition, midfielders Paul Mucureezi, Frank ‘Zaga’ Tumwesigye, Abdul Karim Watambala, and the evergreen Dan Sserunkuma need to be utilized and trusted, or else the team will struggle for goals this season.
At the moment, the team’s main attacking threat is through wingers Milton Karisa and Lumala Abdu who have also proven they can’t play well in the same team as both prefer to play on the right and not inverted.
Can Vipers change up their game plan? That’s a question they must answer if they want to win games in the league and Caf Champions League group stage. Otherwise, their game plan is only suitable for knock-out stages.
Will Oliviera change it? I’m not sure that he will because that’s the way he believes Vipers are going to go about winning games.