FOOTBALL | Police detained Red Eagles at Wankulukuku on Monday afternoon. Their crime? Hapless, appalling and abject display of the beautiful game at their own stadium.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Asan Kasingye, sat in the pavilion beside Express FC chairman Kiryowa Kiwanuka, showed no emotion and would have been unapologetic in reading his host the Miranda Law; his rights to remain silent.
And silent, Kiwanuka was. Like the rest of the fans at Betway Mutesa II Stadium, Wankulukuku, where Juma Balinya and Johnson Odong goals either side of the half time consigned Express to searching for a goal in 2019.
Within 30 minutes of StarTimes Uganda Premier League kickoff, Balinya had turned Wankulukuku into a holding cell for crime suspects. He was helped as much in the tap-in by Kefa Kisala’s tactical shocker as the tactician’s decision for the day probably accounted for the sleepy defence.
The Express FC tactician inexplicably turned up to experiment with a new system on match day proper where many managers would have panel-beaten the three-man defence they wished to use in friendlies before a competitive match.
Perhaps it was Police’s recent quagmire, or perhaps Kisala was genuinely convinced of his tactical approach. Or he was plain naive.And the latter will be on the lips of Red Eagles fans.
Police arrived at Wankulukuku on the back of their own appalling showing that has left Abdallah Mubiru feeling goosebumps that he could end up in the real coolers on Jinja Road after wearing the patience of AIGP Kasingye — who watches every game sitting straight up like a robot — thin.
Last week, relegation candidates Nyamityoobora put four past Police before Mubiru and his stooges could wake up to realise that they were playing a competitive game and not in training.
Given that FC had in the first round easily seen off the Cops at Lugogo, the odds were stacked heavily in favour of the host.
But all this turned funny when the Red Eagles starting XI was released, with new signing Brian Umony tasked to lead the line and Eric Kambale missing while Tony Odur was asked to be content with the bench.
The attacking line would have mattered for less if not for the back where Kisala opted to play with three defenders in Jonny Revita, Disan Galiwango and Shafiq Kakeeto without appearing to have instructed his wingers that in such a system, they become the fullbacks when the team is defending.
The sight of Revita totally exposed on the right or flailing in his runs on the flanks and looking more lost than a empty bottle collectors in the dumpsite was painful to watch. It was a real miracle that on a day of such abject showing, the Cops did not take all their chances, especially in the second half.
Were they doubting the manna dropped at their feet by Kisala and thinking that maybe Express were just testing and taking their time before scoring six goals?
Kisala, on a two-year contract, did quite well with a squad whose depth were no better than milk teeth, beating KCCA FC and ruing refereeing scandal in a draw with Vipers SC. He had also beaten the same Police FC 3-1 and prepared for Monday’s fixture knowing a clean sheet is a luxury when Express play Police.
But having welcomed into the Red Eagles fold five new signings in January, Kisala suddenly had selection headache.
By the time Odong slotted past a despairing Ronald Mutebi in the Express goal in the fourth of the five added minutes, Express had done quite a job of punting and huffing long balls that hardly threatened Police’s rearguard.
Suffering a Monday blue on a day schools opened to cast a tonne of stress on the city as traffic is clogged, the hapless showing at Wankulukuku surely made for a long road back home for the Red Eagles fans.