From the pride that is their upgraded St Mary’s Stadium, though domestic honours to the wider and potentially lucrative continental engagements; Vipers are enjoying the moment.
By any stretch they are relishing the prospect of the 2018/19 StarTimes Uganda Premier League (SUPL) season that gets underway in earnest today.
Mexican coach Javier Martinez Espinoza, successor to the sacked Portuguese Miguel da Costa, is charged with defending the league title, possibly winning the Uganda Cup and at least making group stage of the Caf Champions League as they assume ‘KCCA’s place’ for the last two years on the continent.
Thirteen new players including Abraham Ndugwa (Masavu), Henry Katongole (SC Villa), Joseph Janjali (UPDF) and Tito Okello (Benfica De Macau) among others, have since arrived to not only improve the team but make up for departed Erisa Ssekisambu, Milton Karisa and former skipper Nicholas Wadada.
Ready for all
And club marksman Daniel Sserunkuma believes they are now better prepared to challenge on all fronts, including the continent.
“We have had a very good pre-season and enough good time to know each other, especially the new players,” Sserunkuma, who won the top-scorers gong with 17 goals last season, told SCORE.
Sserunkuma, who believes KCCA are their biggest challengers domestically “because they have been at their peak for quite some time,” says the new season provides him and Vipers yet another opportunity to chase their dreams. “I can perform better than last season because every year I want to improve more,” added the former Kenya Premier League (KPL) champion with Gor Mahia.
Cranes work in progress
Asked whether this is the season he finally locks up a regular place in the national team – the Cranes – Sserunkuma said his duty is to just continue working to improve himself.
“The most important thing for me is to perform better and better for my club because it’s where they call players to national team,” he said.
“For me it means I need to work more and more until I get the chance to national team. My target is to perform better in every game help my team win every match.
“As a team, our target is first to defend the championship and (then) to reach Caf group stages.”
Vipers will represent Uganda in the continent’s premier club competition after beating KCCA to the national championship last season. The latter will represent in the Confederation Cup.
“Now,” added Sserukuma, “We have depth in the squad and I think we can achieve more than last year because last year we only needed to perform better in the league and Stanbic (Uganda) Cup. Now we have Caf champion league.”
Sserunkuma, who started last season with Express before crossing to Vipers half way the campaign, says the players have already developed a chord with coach Espinoza. “He (Espinoza) is a good man and wants every player to enjoy his game.”
Espinoza now has to show it, with the help of his players, there is no further ado.
Full squad for 2018/19
Fabian Mutombora, Bashir Ssekagya, Derrick Ochan, Eric Kibowa, Fred Okot, Aggrey Madoi, Yayo Lutimba, Bashir Asiku, Geoffrey Wasswa, Halid Lwalilwa, Henry katongole, Ibrahim Kiyemba, Livingstone Mulondo, Taddeo Lwanga, Brian Nkuubi, Duncan Sseninde, Moses Waiswa, Rahmat Ssenfuka, Tom Masiko, Abraham Ndugwa, Frank Tumwesigye, Dan Sserunkuma, Noah Wafula, Steven Mukwala, Brian Kalumba, Davis Kasirye, Joseph Janjali, Tito Okello.
Founded: 1978 (As Bunamwaya)
Club president: Dr. Lawrence Mulindwa
Club chairperson: George Mulindwa
CEO: Peter Lwanga
Head coach: Javier Martinez Espinoza
Assistant coach: Moses Oloya
Goalkeeping coach: Moses Oloya
Other coaching stuff: Edward Ssali (coach), Ram Nyakana
Team doctor: Mathias Kasagga
Club sponsors & partners: Hima Cement, Roofings, Dfcu Bank, Hardware World, Life Link hospital, St Mary’s Kitende
Rahmat Ssenfuka (Police), Abraham Ndugwa (Masanvu), Bashir Ssekagya (UPDF), Fred Okot (URA), Henry Katongole (SC Villa), Noah Wafula (Kakamega Homeboyz), Davis Kasirye (SC Villa), Fabian Mutombola (Lydia Lidice FC, Burundi), Ibrahim Kiyemba (SC Villa), Livingstone Mulondo (Kirinya-Jinja SS), Joseph Janjali (UPDF), Tito Okello (Benfica De Macau), Dickens OkwirAmuka (Bright Stars)
Musa Malunda (Bul), Erisa Ssekisambu, Shafik Bakaki, Milton Karisa (Mouloudia Club Oujda, Morocco), Deus Bukenya (Prisons XI FC, Bostwana), Nicholas Wadada (Azam), Mousa Mbayi, David Owori, Ashraf Mandela, Ashraf Bamuturaki (Police, loan), Pius Wangi (SC Villa), Ismail Watenga (Ethiopian Coffee SC), James Alitho (URA), Tony Odur (Express), Mike Sserumaga (SC Villa), Baden Mujahid, Bashir Mutanda (SC Villa), Hassan Kalega (Police,loan), Musa Esenu (KCCA), Alfred Leku (Galaxy, Botswana)