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Exclusive: European agents offered Vipers PSL coach, Mulindwa balked out

FOOTBALL | Uganda Premier League champions Vipers SC were offered seasoned southern African-based coach Mark Harrison as they moved to axe Javier Martinez Espinoza in December, this website can reveal.

Lawrence Mulindwa, the Vipers director, was understood to have been on a serious hunt for a manager after falling out with the Mexican he signed in the summer when Leicester-based soccer agency firm, The Ball, The Dream, offered Harrison.

“Mulindwa did not appear so keen on the offer, he was like ‘weare going local,'” said an agent in Europe. “Thing is that Harrison is also like ‘local’ — he has coached in Africa for enough years.”

Sendo Cleaners

The agent, who asked not to be named because the engagement was private and that he does not speak for The Ball, The Dream Company, suggested that “one reason Vipers and Mulindwa opted to go local is because of funds.”

Vipers SC recruited a little known Kenyan tactician Michael Ouma as interim manager to see out the rest of the season. While it is not yet clear how much Ouma will be earning as interim manager, Espinoza was earning the region $10,000 per month.

The Mexican signed a two-year contract but was relieved of his duties within less than 200 days as Vipers appear to be weighed down by wage responsibilities.

Ouma, a former Postal Rangers coach in the Kenyan league, is a Caf A licence holder and steps into the shoes Espinoza has left that reads: 15 games, eight wins, three losses and four draws.

The Mexican’s losses all came in Caf Champions League where Vipers SC were humbled by Algerian side Constantine home and away. However, was still well positioned in the league with unbeaten record besides being in the group stage of second tier continental football.

“We were offering them Harrison and his assistant who is a Ugandan coaching in UK now,” said the agent.

The Ugandan coach is understood to be Amos Mukiiza, currently coaching at Luthertown. He has been at Leicester City.

While this news website could not readily speak to Mulindwa, Vipers media relations manager Abdu Wasike said he was not aware of the development, indicating that he was not kept in the loop of what was going on during the alleged search for Espinoza’s replacement.

Harrison, Africa’s journeyman

Harrison, 58, won the 2015/16 Botswana BTC Premiership title with Township Rollers but elected to leave the club to return to South Africa with Baroka FC as technical director.

Township Rollers went on to play KCCA FC in the Champions League group stage where the two shared 1-0 wins either side of their home games but lost out on progression to Tunisian giants and eventual champions Esperance and Egyptian Caf record holders Al Ahly.

The Derby-born English tactician previously coached South African sides such as Mpumalanga Black Aces, Lamontville Golden Arrows as well as Chippa United.

He joined Rollers after leaving Zimbabwean Premier Soccer League giants Caps United.

Vipers have been heavily linked with KCCA FC manager Mike Mutebi but it would be one of the biggest footballing stories of the country if the gaffer quit Lugogo for St Mary’s.

Mutebi has seen to resurgence of KCCA into a powerhouse that can rub shoulders with continental giants and pick results too.

But it is also probably for the feats of outwitting the likes of Al Ahly and Esperance that the rumours about his possible move to St Mary’s came about.

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