Football

Coach Shafik Bisaso: The Intriguing Story of a Scholar With a Passion for the Game

Shafik Bisaso is urguably among the best tacticians Uganda has ever ever produced though underrated in many circles.

Last August, the soft spoken coach voluntarily stepped down from his duties at Uganda Premier League side, Proline in what will go down as the one most shocking decisions ever made in the country’s football history.

Before throwing in the towel, he guided Proline to a domestic double, winning the FUFA Big League and the Stanbic Uganda Cup in the 2018/2019 season earning a continental ticket to play in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The final game he managed at the club ended in the 5-4 penalty loss in a match against URA FC in the Pilsner Super 8 tournament after a one all draw in normal time at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.

It was Bisaso’s dream to enhance his coaching credentials hence the main reason for his sudden departure, pursuing a year long course in the United Kingdom seeking a UEFA ‘A’ Football Coaching license.

In a phone call interview with ChimpReports, the evergreen tactician opened up on the challenges experienced in England, one of the many countries that have been greatly striken by the COVID 19 pandemic and also provided deep insist into the state of Ugandan football.

First things first, Bisaso opened the lid on why he was prompted to step aside from Proline at a time when the club needed his services more for Confederation Cup action on their debut appearance on the continent.

“Well, it wasn’t an easy decision but success is determined by decision making. And I think it was the right time to leave because I was even late for the Course by three months. So when my Visa was ready then I had to forego everything and set off for my course, after all I had received confirmation,” he said.

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He further feels downhearted with the people that remain naive upon his journey to success and the criticism he received instead of blessings from fellow country-mates when taking the life changing decision.

“I was completely displeased with the criticism I got upon my departure from fellow Ugandans and moreover sportsmen, with many stressing that I left for non footballing stuff instead. A certain sports journalist (names withheld) spread the rumors that I went for marriage while others lamented that I left to look after oldies but everyone is entitled to his opinion,” he narrated.

Since arriving in the United Kingdom, Bisaso is filled with stories to tell ranging from unfavorable Winter seasons, difficulties in effective communication to the current COVID 19.

“Life in England has been quite challenging starting with the language proficiency because the communication was a bit difficult though I’m steadily corping up with the English accent. Also the Winter seasons made life difficult despite being in the summer and then the Coronavirus concerns. But everything else was in order,” he said.

The former SC Villa tactician went on to heap praise on the Ugandan football governing body FUFA and is thankful for their support in landing him the opportunity to up his CV.

“I actually extend my sincere appreciation to FUFA because they really supported me in the whole process through recommendations and working on the necessary documents required without hesitation,” the student said.

He however, blasted the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for delaying his process and failed to verify his documents presented on many occasions, something he termed as ‘Mafia State’ in the game of football worldwide.

“The worst thing is that CAF delayed the whole process because they failed to approve my documents from day one for UEFA’s clearance and I was disappointed since I had all the necessary requirements. And that only describes to you how the ‘Mafia State’ is operating in football worldwide.”

He added, “A simple example happened when I was appointed as Sports Club Villa head coach and the club’s CEO by then appointed an “Association Coach” which was my first time to hear of such a terminology. And the Federation gave it a deaf ear. It indicates that in football there are mafias and are everywhere in the whole world.

The Ugandan coach is currently managing a 3rd Division team Bromley FC, a professional football club based in Bromley, South London in England.

An eager Bisaso details his education journey and what the celebrated course entails.

“It’s not easy to pursue a coaching course in the United Kingdom because you have to go through a long process. Firstly you must be a professional coach, Learn English in recognized Universities and one should possess a UEFA B or CAF A License,” he explained.

The confirmation letter received from UEFA to pursue the UEFA A Football Coaching Course

He added, “I also went through a First Aid Course for empowerment, because a player can be injured on the pitch in the absence of the team doctor and is entitled to getting First Aid. So it’s quite a long process but I think it’s a blessing in disguise because I’m studying on my pace without panic.”

The gaffer admits that English football is way more advanced compared Uganda’s but argues that the are significant strides made on the local scene especially through investment and advertising injected in the industry coupled with FUFA’s tireless work.

Proline lifting the 2019 Uganda Cup Championship

When pressed on giving a comment on the proposed reforms by FUFA that will see the league teams reduced to 12 from the current 16, the former Express man was reluctant about the feasibility of the reforms and advises FUFA on taking a different route towards the betterment of the league.

“Since they are just re-forms they are not entitled to being discussed though I think FUFA should just educate these clubs and transform them into professional teams rather than reducing on the number. The UPL has ever had of 18 clubs which later reduced to 16, now why reduce them to 12 instead of 14?” He stated.

Bisaso, a resident of COVID19 stricken London City, when weighing in on the situation in Uganda, argues that most Ugandans are taking the novel Coronavirus not serious enough by continuing to disobey the Presidential directives.

“It’s a pitty that Ugandans think this is a movie. People are dying Evey day but they’re not taking it serious. We are in a Biological Chemical war, fighting an invisible enemy so it’s not comedy. I’m very concerned about the matter because I’m having a family back home so I don’t know what can happen if the disease goes beyond control. But I think Ugandans should co-orporate with the ministry and if possible stay home,” he said.

The Journey

Shafik Bisaso currently in the United Kingdom

Before rejoining Proline, Bisaso was linked to West Nile based side Onduparaka and Jinja outfit BUL FC however, all deals fell through.

He lamented that his anticipated move to join BUL FC collapsed at the 11th hour was due to lack of professionalism and internal wrangles at the club.

He further mentions that he declined a move to Onduparaka simply because of religious differences, as the side is sponsored by Betway, a betting firm which contradicts with religious affiliations thus deciding to sign with FUFA Big League holders. He notes that Proline FC is still at heart and that he is confident the side’s fortunes will turn around when the season resumes.

“I can give you assurance that Proline will not be relegated despite being in the danger zone and will beat the drop zone. I have already started to lay strategies with my players and devising means of escaping the hurdle which we shall achieve. Football is determined by the mindsets, discipline and no excuse so we must stay focused unless when the league fails to resume,” he said.

Bisaso returned to Proline in August 2017 and went on to lift the famous Uganda Cup in the 2018/2019 and guide the club to the top tier football.

His passion for the beautiful sport has also seen him in the past work with Kampala Junior Team (KJT), Masavu FC, Soana (now Tooro United), Sports Club Villa and Express FC.

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