Rewind: When Vipers Scored a ‘VAR’ Goal

Clovis Mbayi (screenshot from Azam TV)

On November 3 2017, Mbarara City FC fans left Kakyeka Stadium hard done by and disappointed after referee Muzamir Tulu needed Video Replays (VAR) to award Vipers a goal – which is against FUFA Competitions regulations.

Defender Asuman Alishe, a Mbarara City FC player then, says that it was his most painful game “because I even shade tears.”

We take a trip down the memory lane.

Asuman Alishe was left in tears. Courtesy

Before the game:

It was a match-day eight league fixture.

This was a first top flight meeting between the two sides as it was Mbarara City FC’s first season in the league.

Coming into the game, Vipers had 12 points but had gone three games without a win – a Loss against Police, two consecutive draws against Onduparaka and Soana (now Tooro). Pressure was on Miguel Da Costa to deliver.

Mbarara had collected nine points and had not lost a game at Kakyeka where they had beaten Express and Police FC.

The Main Incident

The game was highly attended, thanks to Mbarara’s addition of kick boxer Moses Golola as a club ambassador who had rallied people to flood Kakyeka.

After a goalless first half, Vipers coach Miguel Da Costa saw the need to make changes and on came Erisa Ssekisambu and Clovis Mbayi.

Tony Odur, Yayo Lutimba and Tom Masiko all came close to breaking the deadlock but Mbarara proved a hard nut to crack.

The main moment arrived in the 67th minute: Tony Odur forced Mbarara custodian Ali Kimera into a low save, punching the ball back into play.

Substitute Mbayi was there to bury the chance; and he did no mistake, unleashing his shot that to went through the net.

Referee Tulu, just like most fans, was convinced that the Mbayi had shot wide from close range, and he awarded a goal kick.

A stand still. Protest. Whistles everywhere. Confusion.

For over five minutes, there was no action on the pitch. Vipers players were seen trying to convince the referee of what had actually happened while others attacked the second linesman.

In that period, Mbarara City players were determined not to return on the field of play.

Dramatically, the referee was told by the first linesman to overturn his decision after what many said that it was after a third party intervention.

Onlookers said that it was Vipers official Thaddeus Kitandwe (who was also an official for Azam TV) who checked on his Azam TV app who showed the video replay to the match officials. Others accused FUFA delegate Abbas Ssendyowa (RIP) of having a part to play as well.

The Video – Courtesy of Azam TV

Asuman Alishe Remembers

“We had kept Vipers at bay but referee betrayed us at last,” Alishe reflects. “What annoyed us is that the linesman had signalled offside when Vipers scored. It looked though that the ball had gone out and referee thought that his linesman was signalling that the ball had gone wide.

“Then the guys on TV, a certain Vipers official intervened and told the officials that he had watched the incident again on TV and the ball had gone through the net, and the referee had to change his mind. I remember that VAR thing had just arrived in England so the referee took advantage of it here.

“But the referee was surely against us right from the start, even in that build up to the goal, the linesman had already signalled for an offside.”

Similar Incidents

The following year – October 2, 2018 – Vipers scored another bizarre. This time, referee Mashood Ssali was on point, despite the ball passing through the net. Moses Waisswa’s direct free kick was punched into the net at near post, but at TV replay that circulated on social media, it looked like the ball was punched out.

On October 5, 2019, a league game between KCCA FC and Bright Stars FC at Lugogo was highlighted by another similar incident. This time, the officials got it totally wrong. Bright Stars saw their goal wrongfully ruled out when Ronald Ssempala had his header cross the goal line and protrude through a torn net but linesman Hakim Mulindwa signalled for a goal kick. The game later ended one all after youngster Steven Sserwadda came off the bench to cancel out Joseph Janjali’s opener.

Teams Used:

Mbarara City FC XI – Ali Kimera, Stephen Otieno, Yeseri Waibi, Asuman Alishe, Hilary Mukundane, Sam Kansiime, Ibrahim Orit, Bassey Methodius, Siraje Musindo, Swalik Bebe, Fred Kalanzi
Substitutes – Muhammed Sekeba, Hood Ali Haji, Solomon Okwalinga, Pistis Barenge, Ainamani Junior, Makueth Wol, Brian Aheebwa.

Vipers XI – Ismail Watenga, Nicholas Wadada, Yayo Lutimba, Geoffrey Wasswa, Shafiq Bakaki, Taddeo Lwanga, Ashraf Mandela, Tom Masiko, Tony Odur, Baden Mujahid, Dan Birikwalira
Substitutes – James Alitho, Deus Bukenya, Moses Waiswa, Brian Nkuubi, Deus Bukenya, Clovis Mbayi, Steven Mukwala



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