Image Source: BBC Sports
This Year's Super League Promises Fire Works
The 2006 season kicks off this weekend with a cracking encounter putting surprise champions Police F.C. against their old nemesis KCC FC at Nakivubo stadium.
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First published: January 27, 2005
Most of the teams have been present in the transfer market strengthening their squads and the top five teams, SC Villa, Police, KCC, URA and Express seem only to be distinguished by names.
Ultimate Media's Ramathan Kasozipreviews the season taking a look at candidates vying for a chance to write their names on the prestigious Super League trophy.
SC VILLADespite finishing without a trophy on the local scene last season, the Jogoos remain the biggest bull in Uganda's football kraal probably due to their somehow better administrative composure as compared to the rest of the chasing pack.
The CECAFA champions will be out with much anger to prove their critics wrong- that they are not dead and buried as they have assembled a relatively young but talented squad, spear headed by workhorse skipper Andy Mwesigwa.
The likes of journey man Benald Mwalala and custodian Denis Onyango defected from the club but with the presence of new signings Salim Magoola, John Kalangwa, Tony Ajjara, Kenyan import Costa Kadenga and the return of wonder kid Augustine Nsumba. Coach Sam Timbe should blame himself if he fails to win any silverware in this season.
Missing on the continental arena this season is a blessing in disguise to the young team as they will have time to concentrate on the local competitions.
I'm not being superstitious, but the Nsambya based side has never failed to win a league title in a world cup year so if they do fail, it will be the first in the club's history.
There is no question about them being the defending champions and the new face of Ugandan football, but many doubts litter their credentials to defend their title especially after returning from the knockout version.
Their critics argue that they are champions because of last year's league format.
But all said, even if the cops fail to defend the title, expect them to give the giants a run for their money.
The arrival of internationals Simon Masaaba, and Tonny Mawejje at Nagguru Police head quarter from SC Villa and KCC respectively, bolstered Coach Asuman Lubowa's rear guard.
They might not be with Godfrey Massa who is on verge of joining paid ranks in Egypt, but will be potent with efforts of their new singing Richard Mugaru who is a rough diamond with the capacity to resurrect the murderous MU-MU partnership with Muwanga Martin.
However, the team's busy schedules on the continent and CECAFA that awaits them may turn their local league hopes wayward.
As usual, the Lugogo based side is known for its ever pre-season heaven promises with their slogan "EKILI E LUGOGO".
This time the talk on the lips of the vocal Kasasiro boys is the return of prodigal son Jackson Mayanja though this time not as a player but as a tactician. Ever since Mayanja retired from playing football in 1997, KCC has never touched any league trophy. He faces a big task of filling the gaps left by the two mid field pillars Noor Kasule Babadi and Tony Mawejje who crossed over to URA and Police F.C respectively during the transfer window. On paper, KCC looks like a formidable squad capable of lifting the championship but only if they can avoid their ever internal squabbles.
Their acid league opener test against Police will show us their destiny.
Like police, a lot is expected from the tax collectors as they rose from boys to men last season when they lifted Uganda's second prestigious tournament Kakungulu cup from hands of KCC, meaning they are our flag bearers in the confederations cup.
They have a squad comprising of experienced players averaging 28 years but capable of breaking any opponent.
Their new signings Richard Malinga, Noor Babadi and Dr, Sam Nadduli only leave Coach Deo Serwada with a selection headache.
A sleeping giant is the word that can best describe the Wankulukuku based side.
The red eagles start the season with mixed feelings and have a lot of work to do. Godfrey Kirumira has just handed over the leadership stick to Godfrey Kiwanuka , George Ssemwogerere has just taken over from Paul Ouma as the club's new coach and the crop of players at Wankulukuku is yet to be a trophy winning material that can stand the pressure from the club's impatient fans.
Ever since the departure of Baana Zidane, Toto Songe, David Obua , Abed Bironse and Hassan Mubiru, the team has failed to put its pieces together.
The only good news for the club's diehards is the emerging exciting talents of the young stars Nicholas Kabali and Tonny Odhur.
Declaring them a trophy material may be too ambitious but dismissing them at all may be done at one's peril.
This is only their second season in the top Flight football but Colonel Bell's team has adjusted well rising from mid table contenders to top finishers.
Prior to the league, the team has left no stone unturned as four internationals Robert Kabanda, Philip Sozi, Francis Gonzaga and Hasan Mubiru are said already to have put pen to paper to serve the club with their talents.
Also in their bag, former Mbale Heroes captain John Namasaka, Bbosa Waswa and speed merchant John Baruku are all in the right shape just waiting for the kick off whistle.
The army side has for long been unpredictable and nothing has changed at Bombo.
As usual, it's the tactics of the commander in chief Moses Basena that will determine the team's destiny.
Like KCC, they always start well but falter when the league gets hotter.
After loosing most of their key players to Kampala based teams, a donkey work awaits Sempijja's boys if they are to stamp an authority on this year's football cake.
Defender John Kerangwa, and Tonny Ajjara crossed over to Villa park while long serving marks man Naduli Sam joined URA.
To add injury to the wound, up to now, Masaka LC have failed to secure some one to handle the team.
I don't think they can be hit by the relegation axe but at one point they might find them selves in the relegation battle.
KINYARA SUGAR WORKS
Former Cranes and Express coach Leo Adra has already started handling the team, which has reassured hope in the fans.
Despite loosing hit man Hesborn Mundia to Villa, the Sugar men are not bothered since Adra traveled with Mark Mwambu to Masindi.
The former giant killers did not survive the 2004 relegation axe but fought by all means to return to the top division soccer this season.
Apart from Congolese import William Engaambe and skipper Steven Kagere, the rest of the team comprises of un familiar faces.
But their hostile IMBALU fans and the intimidating Mbale recreation ground remain as one of their secret weapon that will force their opponents lose points to Mbale FC.
Very little is known about the rest of the park and every one is just waiting for what they have in store. These include newly promoted super cubs, Bunamwaya United, KB Lions, Maji FC and Kampala United and their first key target will be fighting relegation.
Soccer is soccer and it's a game of up sets. You never know one of the new comers might turn to be a title contender.
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First published: January 27, 2005
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.