As recent as 2018, Wakiso Giants were consistently the talk of the football circles as the club took the game by storm.
From acquiring big name signings to top-notch branding of club’s merchdaise, the Purple Sharks created an impression of a force to be reckoned with, literally.
After breezing their way into the top flight with consummate ease, courtesy of a brief sojourn in the FUFA Big League, Wakiso were odds on favorite to at least challenge for the top five spots in the Uganda Premier League because of the financial muscle the club possess.
However, it was a far cry and it’s clear as day light that it may not happen in the short period of time that many anticipated.
At the conclusion of their debut Uganda Premier League campaign, they finished a disappointing 10th with 30 points, only six points shy of the relegation swamp.
The feat came as a surprise as the Purple Sharks had promised so much only to deliver peanuts in the end.
Whlist, the current campaign is turning out to be disastrous for the side once again.
The Wakiso based side has managed a meagre two wins out of 16 games and talk of relegation is rife each passing day.
After a shock loss at home to struggling Mbarara City on match-day 16, the side appear 13th on the log with just16 points, four away from the relegation zone.
Speaking to the club’s CEO Sula Kamoga, after the loss to the Ankole Lions, he was quick to suggest the club’s fortunes will change soon but that is something that is hard to believe after all, Wakiso looks to be on a steady slump.
From being the envy of some of the big boys to now becoming a laughing stock of sorts.
How has a club that promised so much reduced to such debilitating lows?
The Consistent Coaching Changes
Since gaining promotion to the top tier, Wakiso have been coached by not fewer than six coaches (including interims), an average of a coach every four months.
In a game were consistency vital, that is an outrageous number even at the most ambitious of clubs, globally.
During their end of season luncheon at Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala, after gaining promotion to the UPL, the speeches from some of the club’s board members echoed out the fact that Wakiso was not headed to the top tier just to participate but rather compete.
The coaches that have come and left all complain that they have been boxed out by the club’s unrealistic-ambitions yet the environment does not live up to the billing.
When Kefa Kisala was let go along with his coaching staff in late 2019, he sighted a lack of direction by the club claiming that the they wanted him to achieve the unachievable.
In came Livingstone Mbabazi who would also later claim that Wakiso was not an ideal spot for a top flight coach.
Currently, they are under the guidance of Douglas Bamweyana but every day that goes by, his tenure at the Purple Sharks looks likely to end soon.
The former Maroons FC tactician has already asked the board to relieve him of his duties and it will require spectacular turn of events to see him stay put.
On Thursday, April 1, Alex Gita was brought in to act as Bamweyana’s assistant but it would be easy to suggest that a seventh coach is just a few weeks away from taking over at Wakiso Giants.
The Questionable Transfer Policy
A club with the finances that Wakiso Giants enjoys can be forgiven for wanting to have all the good players.
However, with the existence household sides I KCCA FC, Vipers SC, URA FC and lately Express FC, Wakiso can not help but pick the best from those that have been shunned by those four clubs.
When they were preparing for the Big League, Wakiso assembled a squad that many of the top tier clubs could not afford to have and it came as no surprise that they managed to attain promotion at the first time of asking.
In the build up to their maiden top flight campaign, they made more eye-catching acquisitions as they were able to attract top names, some of who came in on loan from fellow UPL clubs.
However, some of the transfers that have been made leave a lot of unanswered questions and it comes as no surprise that a big bunch of players have gone on to fail.
In August 2019, Wakiso signed striker Geoffrey Sserunkuma for NAPSA Star in Zambia.
Sserunkuma was coming in as the club’s first choice striker with Karim Ndugwa, the other senior striker at the club, not trusted with the responsibility of scoring the goals that would see the Purple Sharks achieve their first-season targets in the UPL.
A former top scorer, one would be forgiven for thinking that may be the former KCCA FC striker still had it in him to score the goals.
But clearly, Wakiso was signing a name and not the player Sserunkuma once was as his best footballing days were evidently in the past.
Having netted on his debut in the Super 8, Sserunkuma had to wait for close to five months to score his first league goal in the 2-1 loss at Police FC in January 2020. That would prove to be the only one he would score in the Purple shirt before he was let go of at the end of the 2019/20 season.
Just like Sserunkuma, many players have been signed at Wakiso on account of their past and not how much they will be able to offer the club going forward. A few have gone on to perform close to expectations but many have failed.
Board Interfering With Coaching Duties
“You can not work ably at a club where some of the board members want to coach the team and also want to select the players who play in games.” Narrated one of the coaches that has parted ways with Wakiso Giants.
The unnamed individual is not the only one who has echoed out such frustration after leaving the club.
The issue of interference with the technical team’s role is something that has affected so many clubs in Uganda in the past and it comes as no surprise when one learns, it happens at Wakiso.
The management at the club will of course be quick to dismiss such claims but if it come from not one but two or three ex-coaches, it is hard to ignore it.
After the 3-0 loss to Express FC in November 2011, it is understood that then head coach Kefa Kisala had a confrontation with one of the Board Directors in regards to who was supposed to play and who wasn’t. Following the heated argument between the two, Kefa was fired just like Mbabazi, after him.
If indeed, the board at the club, interferes with the technical team just like some the past coaches claim, then the club is poised to continue struggling just like they are at the moment.
A Target For Other Clubs
With the hype that Wakiso got promoted with, they were always going to be a target for everyone.
The top clubs, very much, want to put them in their place so as to ensure Wakiso knows that it is yet to rub shoulders with the elite of Ugandan football.
For the lesser sides, they go all out to try and prove that Wakiso, a club that was started barely three years ago, is on the same level if not below them.
The players always tend to give their best when they face the Purple Sharks so as to attract interest from them.
On Social media, fans always target Wakiso because of the envy they harbour for the club in it’s early days. After all, who does all that Wakiso did and continues to do in just the three years they have existed.
Definitely not the clubs that those fans support and are loyal to!