Mbale-based FUFA Big League side Kataka FC will face a very strange start to the 2023/24 season, following the departure of a number of key players at the club.
Dependable goalkeeper Edward Kasibante, alongside defender Edmond ‘Sizzo’ Otim and versatile forward Derrick Onyai all left to another Big League side Police FC.
Workaholic midfielder Francis Odongo left for topflight football with Mbarara City, while another of Kataka’s star players Emmanuel ‘Messi’ Mukisa just recently left the country to further his studies in the United States.
The team that has twice come so close to Premier League qualification struggled alot to avoid relegation last season. Kataka collected 34 points from 30 games to finish 12th on the 16-team table, just one position and two points above relegation.
From playing the Big League playoffs semifinals in 2020, to narrowly missing out on a UPL qualification slot in 2022, and battling relegation in the following season, Lufumbi Boys have experienced it all – good and bad, ups and downs.
Some fans are now worried that things could now go from bad to worse, moreso at a time like this when some of last season’s key players have left the club.
However, the club CEO Nassur Nandala is confident that the team has what it takes to compete in the league.
“We had about 30 players last season, less than five left, now we have over 25 players to start with. The situation here (at the club) is not so alarming like it is being put out there,” Nandala told TheSportsNation.
“We have enough players,” the Kataka CEO affirmed.
“Players come and go,” Kataka headcoach Godfrey ‘Toldo’ Awachango also stated.
On whether the quality matches the quantity at disposal, the coach added, “Our main concentration is on working with the available players, to shape them physically and mentally for the task ahead.”
The club will now count on the experience of players like Akram Munyolo, David Zaake, Ibrahim Pengere and Muzamir Nambobi to kickstart their campaign, while goalkeeper Solomon Okello fills in the big gap left by Kasibante.
Swamad Okur, Tiff Kahandi, Hassan Wadenga, Marcus Aka and Steven Namaisi of the famed long throws plus versatile winger Latif Ssenkubuge will have to stand out for things to happen for Lufumbi.
Youngsters Lazarus Ocira, Usama Khayemba, Ronald Mwokye, Muhamamad Biafulo, and Shakur Mafabi are all still part of the club, and they’re so promising.
All-round defender Baba Onziku returned to the club to boost Kataka’s defence after one season away on loan to regional league side Mbale Garage FC.
Jonathan Aguocha, Willy Mapamba, Humaida Mugenyi and Sharif Masai are all Kataka players, as reflected on the club’s players’ dashboard.
Nassur Nandala, Mubarak Kagwa plus Emma Mukisa who are absent at the moment are still in the team’s system, and could be utilised whenever it’s convenient.
Meanwhile, the club is set to unveil a number of new players before the new season starts. According to the head coach, the team will have at least a new player in the goalkeeping, defence, midfield and forward departments respectively.