The StarTimes Uganda Premier League returns after a long 25-day break since the last game was played on Friday, 21 May 2021.
Much has changed since, and beside a mild lockdown, the trio of Bobosi Byaruhanga, Steven Mukwala and Isma Mugulusi earned senior national team debuts.
Ahead of matchday 27, there is a lot at stake as the title race continues to tighten as we enter the business end of the season.
Lets breakdown this, shall we?
The Matchday 27 Fixture and TV Schedule:
The weeklong matchday 27 will have five games on TV, the first time this season!
Match Day 27
Tuesday, June 15
*MYDA FC Vs BUL FC – King George IV Memorial Stadium (Sanyuka TV)
*Police FC Vs Soltilo Bright Stars FC – MTN Omondi Stadium
Wednesday, June 16
*Kyetume FC Vs Mbarara City FC – Nakisunga Ssaza Playground (Sanyuka TV)
Friday, June 18
*UPDF FC Vs SC Villa – Bombo Military Barracks Grounds (Sanyuka TV)
*Kitara FC Vs KCCA FC – Masindi Municipal Stadium
Saturday, June 19
*Vipers SC Vs Onduparaka FC – St. Mary’s Stadium (Sanyuka TV)
*Busoga United FC Vs URA FC – FUFA Technical Centre
Sunday, June 20
*Wakiso Giants FC Vs Express FC – Kabaka Kyabaggu Sports Stadium (Sanyuka TV)
Fans Locked Out, Again
Just as fans had started to savour the matchday feeling, when FUFA followed Government directive to have gamed behind closed doors again.
Due to new Covid19 restrictions, the remaining games will be played behind closed doors. The Federation had earlier allowed clubs to have not more than 200 fans but “this is no longer tenable in the current situation.”
It promises to be tricky starting with Matchday 27 as venues (read stadiums) cannot guarantee closing out fans completly. We have seen Njeru for instance where fans have found their way past the fences.
Without fans, Clubs have been denied a chance of collecting little venue, while up country teams most rely on a huge fan presence to win games. But its safety first.
In relation to Covid19, President Museveni banned all public transport between and across districts for 42 days effective June 10.
In addition, curfew remains from 9pm to 5am.
This means that clubs have a challenge, say BUL who will travel from Jinja to Tororo to face MYDA on Tuesday or Arua based Onduparaka who visit Vipers in Kitende on Saturday. While KCCA visit Kitara in Masindi.
However, FUFA has written to relevant authorities and clubs as well to facilitate their movements.
A document from the Federation signed by FUFA Deputy CEO Decolas Kizza reads in part: “This circular serves to introduce clubs and match officials to the relevant authorities to enable their movements to and from match venues. All the concerned must all times, observe SOPs during travels as directed by President and Ministry.”
Still Hot At The Top
It cannot get any better. Its a three horse race with Express still at the summit with 58 points with four games to go. They are one point above URA in second and just two ahead of Vipers. All the three teams won their respective matchday 26 games but will it be a trend?
Express will not be in action until Sunday when they make a short trip to Wakissha where they will face Wakiso Giants. A day before, URA and Vipers will have played, and the Red Eagles may come into action while seated in third, how they will react against pressure, will be another debate.
They welcome back striker Eric Kambale who missed their Uganda Cup quarterfinal return leg against KCCA at Lugogo after he tested positive for Covid19. Kambale and his coach were named the best of May at the UPL awards.
MYDA May Join Kitara
Kitara FC have already learnt their fate next season – FUFA Big League.
MYDA, on points, will go down if they fail to beat BUL on Tuesday at King George IV Memorial Stadium.
It has been a poor adventure for the Malaba club but will have to bury their poor spell that has seen them lose their last two games, to start an unrealistic long walk to survival.
To make matters worse, wins for Kyetume and Busoga will relegate MYDA irrespective of their result on Tuesday! Ball is not in their court after all.
Mbabazi Face Kyetume: Livingston Mbabazi takes Mbarara City to Nakisunga on Wednesday with a lot at stake.
The Irish-trained gaffer was sacked on March 1 after about eight months at the Mukono based club. A lot had gone wrong at the club but a poor spell of five-game winless streak that left the club in 11th with as many points after 10 games, could not save his job.
With Kyetume 14th (in relegation zone, 23 points),
Mbabazi finds the club worse than where he left them, and will be buoyed to hammer the final nail in Kyetume’s coffin.
Shaban Back: Vipers will start their life in the league without head coach Fred Kajoba who controversially threw in a towel.
Paul Kiwunuka, former assistant, is now at the helm until the end of the season. Among the few things he has done during the short spell, was to bring back big headed striker Shaban Muhamed who was suspended by Kajoba since March following an altercation after the game against KCCA at Kitende.
Is he fit and ready for the big one against his former side Onduparaka on Saturday?