Vipers are just 4 wins away from winning their fourth Uganda Premier League title and have this season enjoyed an extended spell atop the standings. This is partly because of the excellent team assembled by former head coach Edward Golola and the St. Mary’s hierarchy.
Shrewd signings like Fahad Bayo, Siraje Ssentamu, Paul Willa, and academy graduates like Karim Watambala, Bobosi Byaruhaga have been a key inclusion to the Venoms’ progress in this campaign.
However, despite showing some success with signings to a certain level, the commitment to new players hasn’t always been that good all the time. The Venoms have also had a share of the missteps in the transfer market over the years.
Today, we relive some of Vipers’ failed signings and how far they are from the football’s radar as of now.
Mbayi Mousa Clovis – Signed from FC Saint-Etoi Lupopo, DR Congo
Vipers SC paid a huge sign-on fee to acquire the signature of Mbayi Clovis in July 2017. He was tasked with boosting the Venoms’ attacking line but never came close to achieving that.
Mbayi struggled to make his mark under Portugues tactician, Jorge Miguel Da Costa, making only 4 league starts and making the bench on a few occasions throughout the season.
He is remembered for scoring a controversial goal against Mbarara City at Kakyeka, which was his only goal throughout the season.
The Congolese forward was released at the end of the 2017/18 season after making less than 6 appearances for the Kitende based side during the season.
He now plays for A.S Manga Sport in the Gabon Oil National Football League. Mbayi joined A.S Manga last year in January and made his debut on 24th February as his side picked a crucial away win at A.S Dikaki.
Mike Sserumaga – Signed as Fee Agent from SC Villa
Vipers SC signed Mike Sserumanga as a free agent after running out his contract at SC Villa in January 2017. Sserumaga was also tasked to boost the Venoms’ attacking force alongside Moses Waiswa.
However, Sserumaga failed to mark a spot in the Venoms’ ‘struggling midfield’ followed by a couple of injuries, although he endeared himself to fans off the field. On the pitch, he only managed a few starts and a couple of substitute appearances before he was deemed surplus to the requirements.
After a long layoff due to injuries, Sserumaga played out his contract on the sidelines before he returned to SC Villa in August 2018.
Sserumaga now plays for his boyhood club K.B Lions in the Wakiso 4th Division League.
Davis Kasirye – Signed from SC Villa
Davis Kasirye joined Vipers SC from SC Villa in August 2018. Kasirye had an impressive start scoring the only goal as Vipers edged Ndejje University in the 2018/19 StarTimes Uganda Premier League opener.
He made only 5 league appearances and scored 2 goals and also appeared on the substitute’s bench during continental engagements against El Mareekh, CS Constantine.
Kasirye last appeared on Vipers SC bench in a goalless draw against CS Sfaxien in the CAF Confederations Cup on 12th January 2019 during which he was an unused substitute.
The forward who had signed a 2-year contract spent only three months at Kitende before being offloaded.
Kasirye was last spotted in Morocco where he was nearing a move to Tangier based Ittihad Tanger earlier in January this year
Henry Katongole – Signed from SC Villa
Katongole joined Vipers SC from rivals SC Villa in August 2018 on a 2-year contract. He was tasked to fit in for Halid Lwaliwa’s who was out nursing a knee injury.
The highly-rated calm defender was part of the SC Villa side which competed for the 2017/18 league title with Vipers SC.
Before the move to Kitende, the former Express FC defender had turned down advances from KCCA FC. Unfortunately, he did not feature for the St. Mary’s based side until 27th January 2019 when Vipers played a 1-all draw with Mbarara City.
The troubled defender struggled to adapt to the playing system at Vipers, making just 10 appearances in his first season. Katongole joined Police FC last year where he will play out the final year of his contract with Vipers.
Noah Wafula – from Tusker FC, kenya
Noah Wafula joined Vipers SC from KPL side Tusker FC on a 3-year contract. He was expected to boost the Venoms’ attacking force in both the league and Continental engagements.
He was hailed as the new Milton Kalisa, but Wafula produced the opposite. The basis of those comparisons was not apparent during Wafula’s 3-league starts for the Venoms.
He made 3 leagues starts and came off the bench 4 times before he was axed in just 3 months at the club following the arrival of a namesake, Innocent Wafula.
It later turned out that Noah, who scored only 1 goal for the club was ‘some sort of fraud’ signing. The Club intended to sign Innocent and not Noah.
In July 2019, Noah Wafula rejoined Tusker FC where he penned down a 2-year contract
Steven Mukwala – Edgars Youth Academy
Mukwala joined Vipers SC in June 2017 from Edgars Youth FC after putting up a splendid performance in the Masaza Cup while playing for Ssingo.
Mukwala failed to fasten a starting spot in the Vipers’ attack due to stiff competition with Milton Kalisa, Erisa Ssekisambu, and Duncan Sseninde.
He made just 5 starts in 2017/18 season scoring only 3 goals and one goal against SC Bronken in the Uganda Cup.
In 2018/19 season, Mukwala fell short of favors under Javier Martinez and did not appear on any matchday squad until 5th January 2019 against Bright Stars at Mwererwe under the new interim coach Micheal Nam Ouma.
Under Ouma, Mukwala made 4 league starts and appeared on the bench several times from which he scored only 1 goal against Bright Stars.
At the start of the 2019/20 season, Mukwala was sent on loan at Maroons FC where he has redeemed himself. He is the current top scorer of the Startimes Uganda Premier League with 13 goals.
Mukwala will be a free agent at the end of this season and it is believed Vipers’ arch-rivals KCCA FC are in pursuit of the striker.
Karim Niziyigimana – Gor Mahia FC, Kenya
The Burundi international arrived at St. Mary’s Stadium in February 2019 from Kenya’s side Gor Mahia as a free agent and signed a 2-year renewable contract.
He was brought in to fill the right-back position which had been left vacant following the departure of Nicholas Wadada.
However, worn-out wing-back failed to live to his billing as he struggled to make his mark. He made only 3 league starts before he was demoted to the bench.
Karim was released at the end of the season after serving just 3 months of his 2-year contract. He returned to Kenya where he Joined the spendthrifts and ambitious Wazito in July 2019.
Karim Niziyigimana was shown exit doors by the Kenya Premier League side in December the same year after failing to live up to the expected standards. –
Fred Okot – From URA FC
Okot joined Vipers SC from URA FC in August 2018 on a 2-year employment contract. He also was tasked to replace Nicholas Wadada at the right-back position.
He made his debut on 2nd October 2018, coming on as a substitute as Vipers picked a crucial 2-1 win from Maroons away at Luzira Prison grounds.
Okot failed to make a mark on the Venoms’ team sheet coupled with a nagging injury which has kept him out of the action for several months.
At Vipers, Fred Okot made only 3 appearances and his two-year contract will expire at the end of this season.
Musa Esenu – From Soana FC
Esenu is considered to be one of the biggest signings at Vipers SC following his move to the Kitende based side that was reported to be around UGX. 70M in August 2016. This came after his impressive feat for Soana FC (now Tooro United) in the mid-season.
Esenu failed to impress for the Venoms and was loaned out to Busoga United for the remainder of the 2017-2018 season where he had a decent performance scoring 8 goals and a handful of assists.
He was returned to Kitende for pre-season but the highly-priced forward was out of favors at the St. Mary’s and he was released.
He had a short spell at KCCA FC and URA FC before settling at the Jinja based side, BUL FC in July 2019 where he is having a quite decent performance.
Dicken Okwir – From Onduparaka FC
Okwir was acquired from Onduparaka FC on after showcasing his potential at the FUFA Big League side, Amuka Bright Stars where he scored 12 goals in the 2017/18 season while on loan.
At Vipers, Okwir made only one league appearance before he was offloaded to Paidah Black Angels for the rest of the season.
In August 2019, Okwir rejoined Paidah Black Angels for another season-long loan of 2019/20 in the FUFA Big League.
Vipers SC has through the years endured a spate of disastrous signings and more could be happening anytime soon.
While the likes of Joseph Janjali, Bashir Mutanda, Ibrahim Kiyemba, Mandela Ashraf, Aggrey Madoi, and a host of more players could certainly complete the list of the Venom’s worst signings in recent history, there is always a way bad business can be prevented.
It all starts with how you identify players in relation to what your philosophy is. Do Vipers have one?
Maybe football is just unpredictable.