With 16 league titles, 9 Uganda Cups, 3 CECAFA Kagame Cups, 1 HEDEX East African Cup, 2 CAF inter-Club runners up spots and with the only direct export to one of the top 5 European leagues (Magid Musisi to France’s Stade Rennes in 1992), both laymen and purists would have expected this rich and bankable history to be a solid foundation for a model Uganda soccer club.
Yes, indeed it is, but over the years, all that has remained in theory as the Jogoos have kept on toying with themselves and the society at large.
As their rivals and other compatriots struggled to cruise through the murky waters of the purported journey to professionalism, the mighty Villa was continuously writing history in the reverse mode.
The last straw was the recent news that they requested to share Wankulukuku stadium with eternal rivals Express FC as they waited for “their home ground” Namboole Stadium to exhaust the duties created by the COVID 19 pandemic.
The move by SC Villa, as expertly explained by interim chairman William Nkemba is not as sacrilegious as detractors claim because it’s not new in Uganda football. The only peculiarity is about Villa not having its home and, or calling Namboole its home.
This compounds all the negatives surrounding the traditional blues i.e. the historical Villa Park being no more, the club being unable to pay players, or even buy decent stars during the transfers, fighting relegation a few seasons ago, and lastly having an appalling administrative problem prevail for close to a decade.
All that and more were summarised in the 3 point program handed to Eng. William Nkemba in July 2018 when he was given the interim mandate after another Engineer, Ben Immanuel Misagga handed the club to FUFA citing a plethora of hindrances to his reign as Villa president. That would be a story for another day.
- Sporting continuity
- Contested Ownership
- Governance of the club to meet the professional demands
Having been part of all but three of the milestones I mentioned earlier, Nkemba was a divine choice.
When he joined as a player in 1984, Villa had already lifted the 1982 league unbeaten, the 1983 Uganda Cup plus reaching the 1/4 final stage of the 1983 CAF club championship (Sekou Toure Cup) as the CAF Champions League was known then.
He played till 1992 when he was diagnosed with a bad knee injury during a medical at French side Nantes and he never recovered from the subsequent operation to play again.
He immediately entered management and was Hasule’s boss when a Paulo Mukatabala inspired Villa won the 1994 league.
That feat was the 1st major trophy of chief Kawooya’s successor Capo Mugabe who went on to win all the other Villa trophies apart from the 2015 Uganda Cup during Misagga’s reign.
And most importantly, it’s during Mugabe’s era that Sports Club Villa Limited was incorporated (1995 to be specific) albeit with Nkemba among the directors. Its 2010 revision during Counsel Fred Muwema’s reign still kept the legend within the structures, since he was money-bags Al Hadji Umar Ahmed “Mandela” and Mugabe’s blue-eyed boy.
A reputable engineer, born-again Christian, and founding director of the famous Friends Of Football (FOF) project, Nkemba had a lot more than reputation to lose if he failed to deliver on any of the tasks accorded to him.
His approach has been near to ruthless, from avoiding media, to being a rarity at the football club, and in some observers’ opinion, adopting a clandestine modus operandi which threatened the present. He has proved, in his Sheraton statement of October 14th, 2020, that he knew exactly what he was doing.
In front of the press, the soft-spoken legend announced the Villa Members Trust as their solution to all Villa’s problem.
According to him, all blue all equal is the way to go, with everyone who IS Villa, who CLAIMS to be Villa, ASPIRES to be Villa required to pay a subscription fee of only 50,000/= per year and register with a promise to adhere to the rules that include loyalty, and, discipline.
Registration for the 2020/’21 season is set to begin on October 30th, 2020 (the very day a board of trustees will be unveiled) up to December 31st, 2020. It will be physical, and online to ensure all fans here and in the diaspora can access membership.
With the 50,000/= a member will be entitled to free access to all Villa home games and a RIGHT TO VOTE the club president.
The club president will however come from a CLUB CONGRESS of 120 persons, whose subscription fee will be decided by the Members Trust and its board after jointly discussing the financial impact of the COVID pandemic on the country. Quite noble a decision…
Once elected, the president shall select his 11-person executive from the congress and their tenure will last 4 years. The President shall also chair the club congress, executive committee, and, it’s him plus the board that will appoint a Club CEO and also supervise the club secretariat made up of administrative and technical personnel to run the club.
The CEO, employed on contract shall head the club secretariat and they will run the day-to-day affairs of the club.
With the Villa Members Trust owning all the assets of the club, as and when they are acquired, this looks like the simplest model of a modern Community Club which should excite every football fan especially the Villa diehards since it not only ends the era of the single money bag syndrome but also guarantees affordable support from all corners of the fanbase.
With this fully executed, everyone with a wealth of time and ideas will feel as equally welcome as the moneyed people felt at the club. If all blue all equal was a person, it has reflected in the ground-breaking announcement by William Nkemba. Come On You Jogoos… #COYJO
The writer is a sports analyst with Sanyuka TV and the presenter of #Ataakulaba on 102.1 FUFA FM every Sunday 6 pm – 8 pm.