- Mbarara City set to be without the trio of Stephen Othieno, Frank Kasumba and Edward Namaasa who have minor knocks
- Joseph Akandwanaho and Innocent Wafula among New signings expected to play a part.
- For NEC, Brian Mato and Tonny Kiberu and Hood Kakooza are sidelined with injuries
- Rashid Okocha, unveiled on Thursday, traveled with the team while Lubega Sharif, Nkonge Saziri, Balyejjusa Isaac, Kamoga Ivan, Kaye Ronald, and Kyeyune Kevin Tevin were not selected for the opener.
•Mbarara City – Wycliffe Mori, Innocent Wafula, Henry Musisi, Bakali Magumba, Ronald Edwok, Joseph Kandwanaho, Jungu Methodius, Jamie Kisitu Nvule, Henry Kitegenyi, Richard Wandyaka, Pius Kaggwa
•NEC FC – Samson Kiirya, Ibrahim Thembo, Rashid Okocha, Marvin Kavuma, John Paul Acire, Joseph Dhata, Simon Ssesazi, Enock Ssebagala, Allan Mugalu, Brian Kayanja, Geoffrey Sserunkuma
Preview: Battle of Newcomers
Newly promoted sides Mbarara City and NEC FC will square off in a Uganda Premier League encounter at Kakyeka Stadium in Mbarara.
As NEC will be making their debut in top flight, the Ankole Lions are back after they were relegated in May 2022.
Last season in FUFA Big League, Mbarara City finished just three points above NEC in third place.
In a bid to stay in top flight, Mbarara City have as well made some changes, mainly the appointment of Wasswa Bbosa as the head coach to replace Sadiq Ssempigi who did not renew his contract.
The Ankole Lions have lost a couple of players including Jude Ssemugabi who has since joined Kitara FC.
Innocent Wafula, Joseph Akandwanaho, Richard Wandyaka, Pius Kaggwa among others lead a list of new signings.
Another positive for the Ankole Lions before the start of the new season is the fact that FUFA passed Kakyeka after re-inspection, and the side will start the season at home.
Just like Mbarara City, NEC also parted ways with head coach Michael Lukyamuzi who promoted the side to UPL.
Hussein Mbalangu looks an upgrade having coached at this level, and his opponent Mbarara City is his former team.
Mbalangu coached Mbarara City before leaving after four months (September 2021 to January 2022) citing unpaid arrears.
Both teams will have survival as their first priority on season goals, but close games like these determine how far you can go in achieving your set goals.
Head to Head
- Mbarara City and NEC FC played out draws last season in both meetings
- First round meeting at Coffee grounds in Bugolobo on November 3 2022 ended in a goalless draw.
- It finished 1-1 the second round on March 2 2023 at Kakyeka: Jonathan Ssewankambo put NEC FC ahead in the first half before Henry Kitegenyi levelled matters in the second half for the hosts.