Mbarara City Football Club president Mwine Mpaka has revealed the reasons why the club rehired coach Brian Ssenyondo last season, and hinted on the stadium plans.
The Ankole Lions appointed Ssenyondo at the start of the 2019/20 season, replacing Livingston Mbabazi. The former Synergy coach led the team to a third place finish in FUFA Pilsner Super Eight.
However, after an opening 3-0 win against Proline in the league, the team went winless in the subsequent four games before he was ‘sacked.’
Ssenyondo was demoted to the Junior team and Paul Nkata was appointed as the head coach for the senior team.
Hon Mwine Mpaka who doubles as the Western Youth MP opened up about the matter while appearing on Urban TV’s Fan Friday:
“We hired Brian Ssenyondo as we have a big challenge in the country that there are few coaches – We hired many coaches even when we were still in the Big League. You hire a coach today, the next season he wants to go,” Mpaka said.
“So we had hope in a young coach who was ambitious but being that he was still young, pressure came on a long the way. We were playing our home games away from home then, you remember that Kakyeka was not cleared at the start of the season so we had to play in Luzira (Prisons, Kampala).
“We lost that support of our home fan base, some fans travelled to the games but it was not enough. The fans are the largest stakeholders of the club and when the team is not doing well, there is too much pressure from them before it reaches the administration and you must give leadership where you think is necessary.
“We didn’t fire him, we asked him to join our Junior team and pave way for another experienced coach – Nkata.
“We thought Nkata, even when you look at his CV, he has the capacity to manage a UPL team but he failed to pickup. There were so many factors; he didn’t build a relationship with his players.”
Nkata was fired and left the club with 10 points after 12 games, just a place above relegation. Ssenyondo was rehired (read promoted) and immediately won three straight games including a victory against KCCA FC to end the first round on a high.
Mbarara were seventh with 36 points when the season was ended because of Covid19 pandemic.
With Premium distillers and Top Bet, Mwine is confident that his club has a good budget to conquer next season.
However, he said that they face a problem of a stadium.
“Kakyeka is owned by the district. You work on the stadium before FUFA licensing but then after a district is going to field other activities like Motor rally and music shows. This has forced Ntamityobora FC to work on a private stadium, and if you see a big league team running away, its high time we did the same.
“We have bought three acres of land already, that is the best we can do because its hard to get all that land in a town like Mbarara.”
Mwine added that they looking for development partners and if all goes accordingly, they might even play games there next season.
He expressed the need for regional stadiums, stating that these will build more talent. “A club like say Sharp FC will emerge and want to play at Kakyeka but they will face the same problem like us. We need regional stadiums country wide. Who knows, Uganda Cranes may want to play these ends, and may be, we can host bigger tournaments as well.”
The Ankole Lions are yet to make any signing ahead of the 2020/21 season but their star man Brian Aheebwa who is rumoured to be a free agent is strongly linked to KCCA and Vipers while Ivan Eyam may join Express FC.