Omduparaka FC Chairman Benjamin Nyakuni has admitted that the 2019/20 season was the hardest of four since the club was promoted in the top flight.
The Caterpillars were hit with hardships that included financial constraints leading to player exodus and being approached by betting agents to lose matches.
“It’s been our toughest season,” Nyakuni said on Friday morning in a state of Onduparaka FC broadcast, live on the club’s official pages. “But I have to thank everyone involved that helped us overcome all the hardships.”
“We are in a jungle playing against institutional clubs like URA and KCCA which are well funded. Its a challenge for us especially that we are from a humble background.”
The Caterpillars lost head coach Livingston Mbabazi, players like captain Gaddafi Wahab, Vitalis Tabu, Geriga Atendele, Ramathan Dudu, Faizul Anini and Abdul Lukwata.
Consequently, the side were eighth with 31 points when the league was ended by FUFA due to the Covid19 pandemic. They lost 12 games, won nine and had four draws.
In their debut season in 2016/17, they finished 5th with 45 points. They ended up in fourth place (48 points) the following season and came sixth with 45 points in 2018/19 season.
Ahead of the forthcoming season, the club face an internal battle to retain most of the players.
Six players including Rashid Okocha are already out of contract.
“We don’t want to lose our players,” Nyakuni revealed. “We are already in talks to see that we can retain them. We are having discussions but as you know, its two-way; we may succeed or not. The players have their own ambitions as well but I believe that they will renew.”
He added that the club has been in touch with whole the players during this Covid19 pandemic, and provided facilitation to help them. He also thanked FUFA for providing food relief.
Nyakuni hinted about restructuring for player and management staff for the forthcoming season and said that his side will be targeting a league title.
“We want to professionalise this club and our brand should be more vibrant,” Nyakuni added. “We want to restructure the staff and player management and improve on all fronts, do more research on how to improve things.”
“The target is to win a trophy next season. We have lower division trophies in the store and we want a big trophy (League or Uganda Cup) come next season. We can achieve this if we are all united.
“We will need to have more finances to pay players and facilitate other club activities and am sure that if all that is in order, next season will be our best. Football is a religion and most of fans have Onduparaka in their DNA. If we are united, we can make this club the number one brand in East Africa.”