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Talking points from UPL Game Week One

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FOOTBALL | The Uganda Premier League returned on Friday and Saturday with 14 of the 16 teams in action at various stadiums around the country. Nineteen goals were scored, three people netted braces and only one draw registered.

Here are some talking points from day one; disorganisation. First, the fixtures delayed to be released because the Uganda Premier League claimed they were waiting clubs to be cleared by the Fufa Club
Licensing.

They then released the drafts just four days to the kickoff and later released a ‘final’ one a day to the games but without Mbarara City who were, according to FUFA, initially ‘thrown out’.

The club later appealed and their matches were reinstated but up to press time, their schedule for first round has not yet been confirmed.

The confusion crept into the match day one on Friday when several games were forced to delay kick-off because the clubs were in last minute-rush to secure the mandatory licences for their players.

That led to some players missing out on fixtures and match day line-up changed prior to kick off.
Kajoba finally plays attacking football.

The Uganda Cranes goalkeeping coach had promised to change his old ways of playing a defensive type of football at his club Bright Stars starting from this season.

Kajoba, one of the two beneficiary of a short coaching course at American club New York Red Bulls, promised to employ new impressive attacking training methodology in his team.

He was previously pinned by fellow coaches who love free-flowing and attacking football for his style which others say was old style and damaging the local game.

Well, he lived by that and his first casualty was Maroons.

The Kawempe stars who had just received their new mini-bus from new club sponsors Yoshino and Tateru, wheeled to a convincing 3-1 win over the Prison Warders.

The club last scored three goals in a match on December 10, 2016.

“This season we want to change our style of play. We plan to use many strikers and attacking midfielders to get more goals,” he said before the game.

Tough start for debutants

Newcomers suffered a rude welcome with all the three losing all the three points on match day one. Ndejje University who looked a better side of the three debutants were broken down in the third minute of added time against defending champions Vipers at the St. Mary’s stadium.

The varsity lads made a case for themselves throughout the game and a warning to their opponents that they are not going to be pushovers.

They will be disappointed for not picking a point or all but they surely stretched the Venoms to the limit.

At Namboole, Paidha Black Angels were haunted by their former star Vitalis Tabu as his strikes on either halves saw them lose 2-0 in their debut.

Nyamityobora suffered the same fate against Onduparaka in Arua in coach Asaph Mwebaze’s first league match at the club.

Favourites struggle

As it was expected, the favourites won their opening games but not comfortably. Vipers relied on a late Davis Kasirye’s goal to see off Ndejje at their newly-refurbished St. Mary’s stadium.

KCCA FC on the other side of the city struggled to keep off Tooro United to hold on to their 2-1 win.

Disappointed with the loss, Tooro United Coach Waswa Bbosa said: “The best team lost and the worst won. We should have won the game in first half but failed to use our chances. We lacked concentration upfront and in defense as we conceded those two goals.”

KCCA’s Mutebi sided with his colleague and said, “We were not in charge the way we expected. They gave us a very good challenge. Actually, I think they were better than us in the final third but we took our chances.”

In Jinja, SC Villa and Kirinya JInja SSS FC who finished third and fifth last season played to a 2-2 draw.

Cranes prospects make case

Uganda Cranes head coach Sebastian Desabre will be a happy man after seeing his strikers and attacking midfielders doing well for their clubs.

The coach has recently mourned about the bluntness in the national team and went ahead to drop some of the players like Luwagga Kizito who he felt were no longer needed in the team.

He called up some youngsters with the highlight starring KCCA’s Allan Okello.

Well, over the weekend, Okello was among the goal scorers with a beauty of a goal from over 30-yards as KCCA edged out Tooro United.

Nelson Senkatuka who is also returning to the Cranes folds, scored the first brace of the league in Bright Stars 3-1 win over Maroons.

KCCA’s Patrick Kaddu missed a penalty saved in the 50th minute but later made amends with an open strike two minutes later.

Player safety still neglected

In the Kenya and Tanzania premier leagues, a match official cannot start a game without verifying the presence of a fully-equipped ambulance and medical personnel.

On Friday, Jinja SS striker Faisal Muwawu suffered a possible concussion and other body injuries after
colliding with SC Villa keeper Waswa in the opening exchanges of the game.

The striker went down lifelessly, calling for the immediate intervention of his SC Villa team doctor and later the one from Kirinya and players.

The mission was to rescue the player’s life as he vibrated on the ground. Calls for a stretcher were met with blank faces and worst of it all, there was no ambulance to rush him to hospital as other well-wishers offered their vehicles for the noble cause.

Maybe we should also adopt a similar strict rule like our neighbours or else, we prepare for a tragedy in the near future.

Vipers SC 1 – 0 Ndejje University FC
URA FC 2 – 0 Paidha Black Angels FC
KCCA FC 2 – 1 Tooro United
Onduparaka FC 2 – 0 Nyamityobora FC
Kirinya Jinja SSS FC 2 – 2 SC Villa
Bright Stars FC 3 – 1 Maroons FC
Saturday
Police FC 1-2 BUL FC – StarTimes Stadium, Lugogo

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