He is back! Coach Ssimbwa makes unexpected return to Sofapaka technical bench

By Gilbert Wandera: Tuesday, November 22nd 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Sam Ssimbwa

Sofapaka have acquired services of their former coach Sam Ssimbwa on a two-year contract.

The Ugandan was at Machakos Stadium as Sofapaka beat Thika United 5-1 to escape relegation on the last day of the Kenyan Premier League season.

Sofapaka chairman Elly Kalekwa confirmed the appointment, adding that they will retain former international John Baraza as the team's assistant coach.

"We have been talking with Ssimbwa for a long time and he has agreed to return to Sofapaka. He officially starts work next month," said Kalekwa.

He added:"We got him back because we believe he has what it takes to help us fight for the title next season. He is very good at identifying good players and I hope he will do the same for us."

Kalekwa said they are determined to avoid a similar situation that forced them to fight for survival until the last day of the season.

"Sssimbwa has already started identifying the potential signings for next season. We will need about seven new players to strengthen our current squad. We are also speaking to some potential sponsors," he said.

The club did not have a shirt sponsor, which saw key players leave due to financial challenges.

Sofapaka, who were promoted to the top league in 2009, had never finished beyond fourth place on the log. Last season though, things were different.

Sssimbwa last handled Sofapaka in 2010, but left the club unceremoniously and returned to Uganda.

He was caught up in a web of controversy early this year, when Uganda's football governing body Fufa suspended him for eight months due to unprofessional and unethical issues.

Ssimbwa, who was then an assistant coach of KCCA, was sacked by the club after the suspension.

According to a statement on the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa) website, their adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics and Integrity Committee said Sssimbwa conducted himself in an unethical manner when he uttered statements that jeopardised the authenticity of results and integrity of matches.

The committee, however, reduced Sssimbwa's ban by 88 days after taking into account he had spent this time on provisional suspension by his former club KCCA.

"The committee found out that standards required from a senior coach like Sam Ssimbwa are higher than what he portrayed when he uttered statements relating to his ability to bribe match officials for favourable results," read part of the statement.