Event: UPL Season Awards
Date: Friday, June 17
Time: Starting 5pm
Venue: Kati Kati Gardens
Sponsors: Pilsner Lager Uganda
Invited: Players, Coaches, Media and other stakeholders
All is set for the 2021/22 Uganda Premier League Season Awards dinner.
First of its kind since 2018, the ceremony will seek to recognise and reward the best performers of the concluded season.
The best performers have been determined by a process involving different stakeholders that is the fans, media, players, coaches plus a team of technical experts.
The nomination list was issued out last Saturday by the panel after a public vote.
The public and other stakeholders (Journalists, UPL Coaches and captains) started voting on the three nominees.
And a panel will on Friday announce the winners from various categories.
Player of the Season
Nominees – Cesar Manzoki (Vipers), Shaban Muhammad (Onduparaka) and Milton Karisa (Vipers)
Cesar Manzoki of Vipers is the outright favourite here after his outstanding performance to help Vipers clinch the 2021/22 Uganda Premier League season. Since joining as a free agent from AS Vita, the lanky forward has been a menace to local defenders and completed last season as the top scorer with 18 goals and 4 assists. But Shaban Muhammad has an outside chance of winning the gong if votes from the fans are to be considered. This award was won by Geoffrey Sserunkuma then at KCCA in 2016/17 season.
Coach of the season
Nominees – Roberto Oliveira (Vipers), Alex Isabirye (BUL), Abbey Kikomeko (Busoga United)
Roberto Oliveira will edge this one having helped Vipers win the league with an 18-point gap from close chasers KCCA. Alex Isabirye has as well been outstanding for BUL – in a season they won the Uganda Cup – after guiding his side to fourth place, their highest since earning UPL promotion. The Coach of the year in 2016/17 season went to Mike Mutebi of KCCA then.
Young Player of the Year
Nominees – Abdulahi Rashid Kawawa (Arua Hill), Denis Otim (Express), Emmanuel Janan Oketch (Onduparaka)
Express shot-stopper Denis Otim is my tip in this close category. He started the season as the second choice at Express but knocked out Joel Mutakubwa with outstanding performances. The Young player of the year category was won by Allan Okello (KCCA FC) in 2016/17 season.
Goalkeeper of the season
Nominees – Richard Anyama (Arua Hill), Fabien Mutombora (Vipers), Nafian Alionzi (URA).
Arua Hill’s Richard Anyama will surely take this after garnering 11 cleansheets, with his 11th coming against Express in the last game of the season. Per our stats, Mutombora managed 10 cleansheets after he was ruled out for the rest of the season having picked an injury against URA. This award was won by Ismail Watenga in 2016/17 then at Vipers.
Defender of the season
Nominees – Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers), Livingston Mulondo (Vipers) and Joseph Vuni (Arua Hill)
I will not have any complaints for whoever takes this one. Halid may get the nod for his leadership and getting Mulondo tick as the duo created a water-tight defence in a title-winning season. Halid won this award in 2016/17 season!
Midfielder of the Season
Nominees – Joseph Youngman (Bright Stars), Bobosi Byaruhanga (Vipers), Siraje Ssentamu (Vipers)
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Youngman was unstoppable in the first round and earned call-ups to the National team, but struggled a little bit in the second round as his side mounted a challenge to beat the drop. Siraje has been a water carrier in the middle of the park throughout the season and is my pick. Bobosi improved as the season progressed but did not impact the season as he would have wanted. Saddam Juma, then at Express won this one in 2016/17 season.
Forward of the Season
Nominees – Cesar Manzoki (Vipers), Muhammad Shaban (Onduparaka), Yunus Sentamu (Vipers).
Shaban went six games without getting his first goal on return to Onduparaka. He went on to score 15 goals and was named the best player of the month of April. But if strikers are measured by goals, then Manzoki will surely nod this one and is my pick. This category did not exist in 2016/17.
Other Categories not voted for by Public:
•Top Goal scorer of the season – Cesar Manzoki (Vipers) – 18 goals
•Most Assists of the season – Milton Karisa (Vipers) – 8 assists
•Players’ player of the season – This is voted for by the players who are tasked to choose their best player of the season. And I think they may go for Yunus Sentamu.
Coaches’ Player of the season – This award is given to the best player of the season as voted for by the coaches. Cesar Manzoki may edge Yunus Sentamu on this one.
Fair Play Team of the season – This award is normally given to the team with least yellow cards. UPDF got only 29 yellow cards and one red card that was issued out to Ivan Ahimbisibwe. SC Villa is joint second with 41, a big surprise having got the highest yellow cards for the past two seasons.
The Platinum award – This one will be determined by the Uganda Premier League board – It will go to an individual that has been exemplary in contributing to the growth and development of the local league either as a player or coach or administrator or Journalists or referee etc. And who am I to predict that one?
UPL Best XI – This one will include the best players of the season per position from goalkeeper to number 11. My choice – Richard Anyama (Arua Hill), James Begisa (UPDF), Herbert Achai (KCCA), Livingstone Mulondo (Vipers), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers), Siraje Sentamu (Vipers) Milton Karisa (Vipers), Simon Peter Oketch (BUL), Shaban Muhammad (Onduparaka), Cesar Manzoki (Vipers), Yunus Sentamu (Vipers).
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