Former SC Villa coach Petros Koukouras reflected on his time at the UPL side in the wake of his sacking.
The Greek coach was shown exit door last Thursday, a decision he got to learn of while back in Greece to renew his coaching license.
Appearing on NTV Sport Knight, Koukouras said that his last chat with the Bosses at SC Villa indicated that he was going to continue for another season.
“Throughout the year, I was told that we just have to survive relegation and then they will give me enough time and resources to reinforce for next season,” a disappointed Koukouras narrated.
“But after the season was over, I started seeing signs – may be they were trying to frustrate me in ways that I could leave.
“There were small daily things that they did – They brought in people without my knowledge, they organised these trials and I just found out a day before they started. Small things I used to have control before.”
Koukouras was hard done by the decision to bring in a couple of new faces, including new Technical Director Andy Mwesigwa without his consent or knowledge.
The Club went on to plan trials to get players for the 2022/23 season without his advise.
The Rocky Start
Koukouras was appointed by SC Villa in September last year, coming in during turbulent times at the club prior to club elections.
The Club went on to sack CEO Shawn Mubiru who was replaced by Nambalirwa who had earlier petitioned court to stop Elections.
In dramatic turn of events, FUFA suspended the new CEO for “taking football matters to courts of law.”
And when the League fixtures were issued out, the draft left out SC Villa who then FUFA said that had no leadership!
“It was a big surprise, we started the preseason very late, it was actually about three weeks to start of the season which didn’t allow us to work properly on the fitness of the players,” Koukouras continued.
“Then, a couple of days before season kickoff, we were told that the club does not only have licenses but we were not going to play the opening fixture as well, but they reassured us that we were going to play the next game so the next week we were preparing for the next game and then again one thing before the match we are told that we are not playing this one team and it remained complicated.
“We couldn’t find friendly games to assess players in match situations and it was all tough. It’s something that has never happened to me before.”
Koukouras said that when a club doesn’t have enough preparations in preseason, it affects the team in a lot of ways.
“It affected us with injuries, fitness level of players then as we all know we couldn’t raise enough players – we had the likes of Shafik Bakaki, Bernard Agele and Saddam Juma were not registered at the start of the season then after months they were given licenses I guess in the second week of February.”
It was a tough spell thereafter, and Koukouras highlighted a couple of other challenges that included a team accident en-route to Gulu for their Stanbic Uganda Cup match.
“The accident affected the players mentally and that affected the players performance. It was a season full of small small issues and when you are just done with this, something next happens and disorganises the whole team.”
The Inexperienced Squad
SC Villa, before the start of the 2021/22 season, lost a couple of players including Saidi Keni, Asuman Alishe, Derrick Ndahiro, Geofrey Wasswa and Emmanuel Wasswa among others.
But they brought in a couple of inexperienced and young players like Oscar Mawa, Travis Mutyaba, Gift Fred, Ali Bayo (Edgars), Charles Bbaale, Iddi Abdulwahid and Umar Lutalo among others.
“We started with one idea and after about three games we realized that it’s not working because we had an inexperienced squad, and then we had to change in order to get results,” Koukouras added.
“Along the season, we had to try out a lot of things, we changed different formations, and at the beginning of the season we were playing 4-2-3-1, changed to 4-3-3, 3-5-2 until we got the right system to get the results and got out of the relegation fight.
The Jogoos beat Police FC 1-0, goal scored by Saddam Masereka at Kavumba, to get their season up and running in October.
But they only managed one win in their next 9 games (2-1 over Onduparaka) as the cracks started to show.
“We also realized that it was more important at the time to get results than playing nice football, we had difficulties as a team to score goals and we reached a point that the most important is to seal the defence first, secure that one point and see if we can look for one goal at least so that we can get maximum points.
“In the second round we started getting better, we managed to combine some good results and play good football as well.”
Koukouras adds that a couple of players improved including Travis Mutyaba who had never played in too flight but went on to become a team’s star.
Amir Kakomo who saw his yellow cards tally decrease, converted Gavin Kizito from centre back to the right.
“And we were never in the relegation zone, we were always near the danger but we always found a way how to escape and win important matches.
In January and February, SC Villa went eight games without a win, in a spell they lost twice against Bright Stars.
“During that period, we had a couple of players like Gavin Kizito, Kenneth Ssemakula, Travis Mutyaba on National team and we also had injuries to Salim Abdallah and Nicholas Kabonge,” Koukouras explained.
“We missed key players and it becomes harder from what the coach expects.”
A Lot Still Needs To Be Done
Koukouras said that the next club coach will face more problems than he faced if something is not done.
“Paying me and the players on time is not the only measure of supporting the team, but we lacked a lot of things,” he explained.
“Most of the times we were travelling on the match-day especially to Njeru, but most of the teams were there at least a day before and we were there, we also trained on natural pitch and then appear on match day to play at artificial turf.”
Koukouras also stated that he was not involved in the decision made by the club to host games at Njeru because it was announced on the day he was also unveiled.
“The day of my unveiling is also the same time it was announced that the team will host games at Njeru.
“nd when I was told that we will be playing in Njeru, at the time I even didn’t know the distance from there to Kampala. I had just arrived in Uganda and could not tell if they had fan base in Kampala or Njeru or Lugogo or anything like that.”
He further explained:
“A lot of things, many things need to change. The structure of the club must be improved, the Club is ran by businessmen but it’s always different with football. No one is a fully employee at the club.
“We had Shawn Mubiru as the CEO and he was always there when we needed him. He was working 24/7 at the club. Since he was relieved from his duties, everything totally disappeared. All the decisions started becoming very slow.”