Despite criticism of the style of football, character and ingenuity, Portuguese tactician Miguel Da Costa rose from early despair to winning the Azam Uganda Premier League title by May.
And the reward two months after? An acrimonious sack that will see him compensated for the remainder of his three-year contract signed on March 7, 2017.
Although it is under his reign that Vipers ended a three-year league trophy drought, he reportedly fell out with the club patron his hitherto strong apologist and the growing fan discontent rendered him a liability as time went on.
How did we come to this point?
The Portuguese, reportedly a former coaching apprentice at Porto, jumped in at Vipers at the deep end of the pool, taking charge of the Caf Confederations Cup match against South African side Platinum Stars.
In his first and the club’s first match at the newly opened St Mary’s Stadium-Kitende, he accrued a 1-0 win before bowing out in the return leg. He would get a half season to audition what he had up his sleeve until his first season would roll out.
He had all the time in the world he needed first; to acclimatise, secondly to beef and above all, to assemble the best side in the league.
The first 12 games in the new season didn’t move according to the script prompting murmurs of his impending sacking.
Vipers went for a jugular and brought in a technical director – the experienced Eddie Butindo in December, who partly covered Da Costa’s managerial deficiencies. Butindo’s recommendation to have proven goal scorer Dan Sserunkuma join the club saved Da Costa from the blunt attack headache he was experiencing before solving the technical team bickering that was tearing the club apart.
Da Costa’s fiery temper would come to cost him suspension for a match against Bul thus granting his deputy Edward Golola, twice a double league winner, a glorious chance to show that he was the real man running the show.
Golola comprehensively swept aside Masavu, KCCA, Proline and Police in goal-ladened encounters that turned the league tide from Villa’s favour to Kitende.
By the time he returned in the 1-1 draw with Jinja SSS in Bugembe, the message had been sent forward to the powers that be – Vipers can live on without Da Costa.
Inside sources say the club executive was also concerned about his outburst especially with Villa fans that shade the club in bad image before their three sponsors. The Cecafa disheartening outing in Tanzania last month just broke the camel’s back as the Portuguese had severally indicated that his bags were already packed.