Epic Weekend in the Ugandan Super League
Its now or never for the Red Eagles as Police travels to Masindi for a double fixture.
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First published: April 27, 2007
The quest for the Ugandan Super League title as well as spirited campaigns to avoid relegation resume with a menu of more than five games this weekend. Kasozi Ramathan in Kampala reports that most of the attention is focused on the game between Express FC, threatened with relegation, against Victors. SC Villa and City Lads meet while Police FC has a double fixture trip to Masindi against Kinyara Sugar Works and Masindi TC.
Football tactician Ibrahim Buwembo might be making his final appearance on Express FC's hot bench when the Red Eagles make a short but acidic trip to Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium to encounter Colonel Bell's on-form Victors FC. The former Cranes' attacking midfielder was on Tuesday this week saved by police officers from irate Express FC fans who demanded for his head or for him quit the job. This was after the team's 2-1 loss to league minors Boroboro FC at home in Express's former slaughter house, Muteesa II Memorial Stadium Wankulukuku.
However Buwembo insists that he only quit by the orders of his bosses. "The fans should know where to stop. I won't step to their tunes. I can only quit by the order of my bosses but not the fans reasoned Buwembo shortly after the game. The Kakungululu Cup holders are languishing in the 11th position on the league table with only one slot separating them from the relegation axe and this appears to be their worst performance ever as they have gone for 17 games without a win.
Book makers believe that unless something drastic happens, the status quo is destined to continue as Victors have already warned the Red Eagles to carry enough hand kerchiefs to Nakivubo. "I don't wish to undermine them but they shouldn't expect any favors. We don't only need maximum points but a convincing victory too warns Victors' experienced midfielder Philip Ssozi.
In contrast to Express FC, Victors, who are based in Nsambya, are firing on all cylinders and their recent 2-1 victory from a goal down against KCC FC is testimony enough. Veteran striker Paul Mukatabala and Cranes's international Yuda Mugalu are expected to lead Victors' goal hunt as Phillip Ssozi and Badru Ssenkayi, the scorer of one of the goals that sunk KCC, dictate the matters on the left and right wings respectively.
Meanwhile Express' leading striker Moses Adune has urged his team mates to wake up if they are to end their loosing streak. The 20 year old hit man will partner with Badru Kiyega and Boban Tusubira in a three man attack as Apollo Kakaire commands the rear guard.
Elsewhere, Police FC makes a 100+ km trip to Masindi for a potentially hectic double fixture against Kinyara Sugar Works and Masindi TC. The 2006 champions engage Kinyara on Saturday before concluding their visit against relegation candidates Masindi TC the following day. Sam Timbe's troops are in terrific form, having won all their four second round fixtures but their credentials are expected to be tested to the limit as no team has picked maximum points from double fixture in Masindi this season. The defending champions fell prey first when they returned to Kampala with only 2 points from the possible six. SC Villa only managed four, beating Kinyara 2-1 before settling for a 1 all draw with Masindi while the sick man of the league, Express FC collected 2 points.
The cops are expected to bank on the striking prowess of the former Express FC temperamental forward Henry Kakooza and marksman Mike Sserumaga with Cranes' right full back Simeon Masaba and skipper David Yiga commanding the defense.
The other Sunday fixture pits Uganda's record champions SC Villa against City Lads at Nakivubo stadium. The Jogoos are smarting from a 2-1 loss to Iganga TC last weekend and can't risk losing any more games if they are to continue piling pressure and bridging the gap between them and table leaders URA FC. They're trailing the tax collectors by 9 points, albeit with a game in hand. Coach Asuman Lubowa attributed the Iganga loss to his defenders whom he accused of losing concentration but is optimistic that the trend will change against City Lads, saying that he has done enough to correct the mistakes.
"We lost the Iganga game because of lack of concentration in our defense, but we have gone to the drawing board and corrected them. I am optimistic that all three points are in our grasp," reveals the soft spoken tactician. Lubowa is likely to apply his favorite 4-4-2 formation, accommodating sweepers Mike Azira, Katende Joram, Yusufu Juuko and Owino as his back four to protect team skipper Yassin Mugabi who will be manning the goal posts. Pocket sized live wire Jeremiah Ssebuyira and Stephen Bengo are the men that David Otti's side should watch out for.
Meanwhile, in the country's second prestigious tournament, Masaka Municipality hosts Nangabo, Kampala United entertain Nyanama, SCUTUM plays away with Naguru, NAFEBO is up against Kampala UTODA as SC Villas junior side Joogo Young welcomes Bihairwe at Villa park. Express are the cup holders of this tournament, whose winner qualifies for the African Confederations.
Super League Table standing as of Thursday Afternoon April 26th
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First published: April 27, 2007
Ramathan Kasozi is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. . A graduate Journalist, Kasozi has more than 5 years experience reporting on sports in Uganda for different print and broadcast media houses.