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Football mergers made in hell

In the second and last part of Ugandan football mergers, Hassan Badru Zziwa analyses why most of the unifications failed to last the test of time;


Spear FC

Gordon Wavamunno is among KCC FC officials who demanded constitutional reforms in the club. The Kampala tycoon was not happy by some of the provisions in the club which bar non City Council staff from being elected as club chairman.

KCC faithful including mentor Bidandi Ssali were not ready to change such an “important” provision. So, few weeks after his election as first vice chairman in 1985, Wavamunno who was one of the biggest contributors to the club coffers—quit and decided to start his own club which came to be known as Spear Motors FC.

In January 1991, he appointed ex-international Paul Ssali as head coach, with Mwanje and Mazinga as assistants. But still the team was not performing to the satisfaction of Wavamunno. Being an ambitious businessman, he signed on German tactician Helmut Kosmehl in April 1991 as head coach with Ssali and Peter Mazinga as his assistants.

But the team moved two steps ahead. The club executive was divided and so were the players. Towards the end of the year, Express edged Spear 1-0. There were rumours that some players had connived with Express to fix the match. And earlier in the year, some Express fans ran riot and shattered Spear Motors bus screen.

All these annoyed Wavamunno and he decided to pull out of the club. Kosmehl who was enjoying his holiday in Germany was advised not to return to Uganda because there would be no job for him. Ssali was given a letter terminating his services and so was Mazinga.

As if that was not bad enough the management also cancelled all tenancy agreements with landlords housing the spear motors players effective from January 1992.

Wandegeya FC

 

It was an old side which is believed to have started in the 1970s. In 1980, the club which was handled by former Uganda Cranes and Express FC striker Ali Kitonsa and Team Manager Eugene Katamba “Ojukwu” won the super mini-league in Jinja and stormed the super league in 1981.

But because of poor funding, the team was relegated.

Spear-Wandegeya

Following the withdrawal of sponsorship by the mother company meant that—Spear Motors FC had collapsed. So Wandegeya officials approached the management of Spear Motors for a possible merger.

This was accepted without hesitation. Apart from Seruwu Mwanje (a Germany trained coach) who was asked to give a hand, no other officials of former Spear Motors joined the new club and most players joined other Kampala sides.

However, the poor form caused stir among the club fans who wanted the old executive to quit their posts. In July 1992, Spear-Wandegeya FC was at the verge of splitting following disagreement among its officials and players. They passed a vote of no confidence in the old executive committee that had failed to adhere to players demands.

Lule Kasule was appointed as the new chairman and he promised to restructure the club and solicit for other sponsors. But the old executive of Kisakye, Eugene Katamba and Wasswa refused to leave office. There were ugly incidents when the two executives almost fought for the club gate share at Mutesa II Stadium.

The league committee refused to release the money to the two warring factions and decided to keep the money as they sorted themselves out.
When the dust had been settled, Spear-Wandegeya had been relegated to the lower division where it still fights up to now!

Nakivubo –Carols

After qualifying for the super league in 1994, Nakivubo Boys made history when the team was sold to Tororo based Carols FC. The deal which involved Shs 8m was spearheaded by Nakivubo Boys officials Yusuf Kyeyune “Chuni” and his brother Sande Monie and Carols owner Tushar Ruparelia.
Nakivubo Boys FC

The team played in the super Mini-league held in Fort Portal and qualified to the super league. But the team which was sponsored by Shamoc Partners, a soda selling business at Nakivbo Stadium which is owned by both Chuni and Monie faced financial hardships even before kickoff of the new season and accepted to be put on sale.

Tororo Carols FC

It was a side owned by Kampala businessman and SC Villa official Tushar. However, the team failed to get promoted from the Eastern zone and to Tushar, there was a lot of corruption.
One time, Tushar wanted to join Moroto zone where he thought it might see his side qualify for the super mini-league. So, the emergence of cash-trapped Nakivubo Boys helped him to jump to the super league.

Merger
The provision which bar teams of different divisions to merge became the stumbling block for the “marriage” between Nakivubo Boys and Tororo Carols. So Nakivubo Boys agreed to sale the club at Shs 8m.

However, there were some conditions which the two parties agreed upon. They agreed that—the club remains with its original name (Nakivubo Boys) but at the same time move the base to Tororo.
But before the league kickoff, players of Nakivubo Boys were up in arms with the new executive that took over the club for denying them release letters to join interested clubs despite being dropped from the team.

It was reported that, the new executive picked only three players from Nakivubo Boys and the rest came from Tushar’s Carols.

However, the team failed to live up to the expectation and ended up by being relegated the following season. Tushar, joined SC Villa’s executive and the club collapsed. But recently, the team was revived again looking for a third coming.

URA-Lyantonde

After failing to qualify from Zone Nine Super Mini-league in Kampala in 2000, Uganda Revenue Authority hatched a plan to go through Western Region Mini-league in 2001but the team was kicked out of the Kasese event on technicality reasons.

They argued that, the tax men had not played in the second division, so they don’t qualify to take part in the mini-league. URA looked dejected. However, on the team’s way back to Kampala, they made a stop over at Lyantonde town where they discovered that Lyantonde FC had failed to raise Shs 200,000 as registration fee to participate in the Buganda Mini-league held at Kasana-Luwero.

So, URA looked at that as a rare opportunity which had to be grabbed. They agreed to pay the registration fee and also signed a memorandum of understanding which required the tax men to surrender their players to Lyantonde FC with a view that—after promotion the team change name and management to URA.

The team got promoted and in the 2002 league, it played as URA-Lyantonde but under URA management and the following season it changed to URA.
Since then, URA has become a power house. They have won three super league titles (2006, 2007 & 2009) and one Kakungulu Cup (2005).

Military-Nile

In 2002- Military merged with Nile FC to be become Military “N”. Nile had failed to return to the Super League.

Arua-Garage

Arua which had also rejoined the league in that year also merged with Mbale based Garage FC which had failed to qualify and became Arua Garage.

Mukono-Kanoni

Before the 2006-07 season, Mukono United failed to qualify to the super league and sweet talked cash-stranded Kanoni FC which had qualified in Buganda region to become Mukono “K” but the team got relegated the same season.

bzziwa@observer.ug

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