Will Villa keep the momentum? SC Villa have never looked more likely to win the championship than this year since their last triumph over a decade ago. The record 16-time champions lead the log by a mega five points. Despite some financial challenges in the first round, they held still. Apart from making some additions to their squad, they did not let any of their players away. Their biggest advantage is a strong defence that has seen them concede the lowest number of goals, six, throughout the first round. Another advantage is the unbeaten run at their Masaka Recreation centre home. The chasing pack has KCCA FC, who have a busy schedule with continental football in between yet the wheels have already started getting off early pacesetters Police FC.
Will the goals finally come? Of course goals remain a scarce commodity in Uganda’s league football with an average of 1.12 goals scored. 214 goals have been scored in the 240 game splayed in the first round. Moreover the leading scorer, Hood Kawesa, who was sold by Police FC, has just seven goals.
Nkata’s second coming at URA FC: Since winning his first league title as coach with Tusker FC of Kenya in the 2015/16 season, things went from bad to worse for Nkata as he was fired twice before he was received at URA FC to replace out of favour Ibrahim Kirya. Nkata’s genesis of URA’s job for the second time was a rude 1-0 loss to Onduparaka at home before the team put up impressive performances in the invitational Mapinduzi Cup in Zanzibar where they finished as losing finalists. But when he brought his troops in action on home soil, it was a brutal 1-0 loss to Regional League side, KJT in the knockout Uganda Cup. A rude awakening surely awaits him.
Can Express FC bounce back? Of course Express FC lie second bottom but many don’t expect them to be relegated. Coach Shafiq Bisaso, who joined the Red Eagles at the tail end of the second round, has acquired several loan signings and for the games he was in charge the team was only unlucky to drop points. He starts the second round with ambitions of not lifting the trophy but getting the team out of the relegation mire. He lost key players especially Dan Serunkuma to Vipers but their team chairperson Minister Florence Nakiwala made the team’s intentions clear at least by paying ‘some’ of the outstanding wages in a public show of rebirth.
So, who will get relegated? Masavu are prime candidates for relegation if they continue with their first round form. Unconvincing UPDF FC could join them into the Big League. This could be their second relegation in three seasons. The army side returned to the top flight after buying the place of defunct The Saints but has been struggling to cope with life in the top flight. Inadequate administration is blamed for their challenges. Surprisingly, Mbarara City have not struggled as was predicted in their maiden season. Kirinya-Jinja SS are other candidates but so much could change between now May 19th as the teams in harm’s way are so close to call.