Although KCCA FC has already won the 2016/2017 Uganda Premier League (UPL) championship, the season is far from over. The focus is now on the relegation dogfight, heading into the penultimate fixture of the season, reports JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE.
If Sadolin Paints FC fail to beat Express FC tomorrow, they will be relegated from the Uganda Premier League.
However, Sadolin are just one of many UPL sides, including Police FC, Lweza, Bul FC, Kirinya and The Saints that can be relegated depending on results, a situation that should keep the interest in the league palpable.
Sadolin, who are second from bottom, fired their coach Simon Kirumira over a week ago, following their 0-2 loss to The Saints at Namboole stadium. This was a turning point for Sadolin, who ordinarily felt they were favourites to beat The Saints.
But it is a reaction that appears to have come too late, especially when one considers how badly Sadolin has performed in the second round.
They finished the first round tenth, with 17 points, eight goals for, and ten against. Although this earmarked them as the best defence in the league then, the second round has seen them score an additional eight goals only, and conceded 17.
Now they must win their last two games to make it to 32 points. However, Sadolin’s destiny is not in their hands.
The moment Bright Stars, who are on 31 points, secure a point against URA FC in Lugazi, Sadolin will be down on the basis of their highly inferior goal-difference. Bright Stars is on negative four while Sadolin is on negative eleven.
Lweza, who are third from bottom on 28 points have a chance to register 34 points if they win the two games left, beginning with a crunch one against Kirinya, who are eleventh on 31 points.
Considering the form Kirinya has had lately, which has seen them beat SC Villa, Police and Vipers, Lweza have their work cut out. But Kirinya cannot afford to rest on their laurels either. Any slip-up gets them closer to the last three. The same applies to the 2005 league champions Police FC.
On 30 points, Police are right at the borderline. And to eliminate the pressure that comes with that, they must beat already relegated JMC Hippos.
On the basis of the table’s outlook, The Saints, who will be hoping that they can revenge their first round loss to Onduparaka FC in Bombo, need a point to be safe. They will have reached the 34-point mark.
And because all the other teams in the relegation fight below them also have to face each other, Moses Basena’s men have a straightforward situation.
On the other hand, Proline will play a big role in determining who stays up. They will face Kirinya on the final day in Jinja, and how important those points may be. But the outright shoot-out will come against Police and Lweza.
In fact, even if Police failed to beat JMC tomorrow, and they found themselves dropping into the bottom three, their final-day match-up with Lweza will be winner-takes it all.
UGANDA PREMIER LEAGUE
SC Villa v Vipers
JMC Hippos v Police
Lweza v Jinja
Onduparaka v The Saints
Proline v KCCA
Sadolin v Express
Soana v Bul
URA v Bright Stars