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How to make SC Villa great again

SC Villa players celebrate their last trophy, the 2015 Uganda Cup. This is one of two trophies won over the last 16 years

SC Villa players celebrate their last trophy, the 2015 Uganda Cup. This is one of two trophies won over the last 16 years

The lack of a league title for SC Villa since 2004 has coincided with leadership inadequacies at the club. As much has been highlighted in this series: Sixteen Years of SC Villa Drought, for the last seven weeks, and in conclusion, JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE reports about how to make Villa great again.

SC Villa resume their association with the Sheraton hotel today. In this latest development, Villa will unveil their new legal structure. According to William Nkemba, the club’s interim president, this is expected to resolve the ownership question that the club has grappled with over the last 16 years.

This is seen as the precursor to ensuring that the club undergoes administrative restructuring and upholds proper governance principles. While Nkemba is convinced that whatever is to be unpacked today is going to be the best thing to happen to Villa, a truth and reconciliation process to bring everyone home is of the utmost urgency.

Building bridges

Drawing back to the findings from the seven parts of these SC Villa series, the intrigue and friction between parties and lack of integrity have dampened Villa’s prospects. For example, Omar Ahmed Mandela and Fred Muwema have not seen eye-to-eye for a while now.

In addition, Ben Misagga has not had the best of relationships with Mandela and Franco Mugabe. In light of that, Dennis Mbidde, a former Villa vice-president, said: “Somehow, we have all rubbed each other the wrong way. But we all have one common interest - Villa. It cannot be the factor that divides us, as has been over the last few years.”

Mbidde added that Villa was at its strongest, as a united front from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Mbidde agrees there should be reconciliation if the club is to realize a renaissance to lure people back.

One can only hope that this new accommodative Villa that Nkemba said it is going to be, has room for the likes of Edgar Agaba and Farouk Meyiwa. Since the two expressed interest in running for the Villa presidency over the last two years, they were kept at arms-length from the club’s administration.

With only two Uganda Cup trophies won since 2004, Villa is a shadow of itself; the only Ugandan team, to reach two continental club finals in successive years, 1991 (Caf Champions League) and 1992 (Caf Confederation Cup). Nkemba was a prominent member of those teams.

Agaba looks back on that history with fondness. “Such feats made me love Villa. And all I have ever wanted, is to help my club be the best.” Yet, what Agaba claims to have experienced since his first encounter with leadership at Villa, has been perpetual social-distancing between the old and new generations.

In Agaba’s view, all should work together without a sense that one generation is trying to supersede the other. This is the only way transition can best managed, so that Villa realizes sustainable and uninterrupted growth going forward.

Separation of powers

“Football is a business today, and it is only on that premise that Villa must be run for posterity; not a club depending on the charity of a single individual’s pockets and whims. Otherwise, such a club is on shaky ground,” Agaba said.   

Nkemba shares a similar view as Agaba’s. But maybe Nkemba also needs to concur that Villa needs the likes of Agaba, Muwema, Vincent Bagiire, Mbidde, Moses Magogo and Misagga, to revive the club they all support.

This is regardless of their past faults, because such individuals are at the prime stage of their powers (pregnant with ideas of modern trends) for better transition, development and dynamism.

In 2004, when Mandela chose to “leave” the Villa executive, following an assault by a section of Villa fans at Namboole, it was clear that the fans were now overstepping and disrespectful. Although fans are free to express their disquiet, they cannot be involved in running the club, as the case has been at Villa recently.

They have recruited players and at times manned the gates if not determined who coached the club. Modern clubs do not run that way. Yet, making sure that the fans branches are vibrant goes without saying. Fans can be a revenue stream for their club. Across the country, Villa should have at least 50,000 fans. If each contributed at least Shs 1,000 to the club every month, that would be Shs 50 million in the club’s coffers. 

In turn, the leaders also have a responsibility to be good communicators. Nkemba promised as much going forward. But also ensuring that the Villa fraternity remains united, is crucial. Then, Villa can be great again!

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