Troubled by relegation worries, Express FC travel to Masaka to face traditional rivals SC Villa at the Recreation grounds where the Red Eagles have never beaten the Jogoos in the league, reports JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE.
The Masaka Recreation grounds has become a fortress for SC Villa. The Jogoos are the only team in the Azam Uganda Premier League with a 100% home record, having won all their six home matches this season.
They will be favourites to make it seven when they host a struggling Express this afternoon. If the league were to end today, Express, who have only secured four points from a possible 18, would be relegated because they are third from bottom.
Third-placed Villa would be gut-wrenched to lose the title by just one point to Police FC, who lead with 23 points.
However, while the situation looks bleak for Express, clashes with Villa rarely follow the form book. Instead, it is the emotions and adrenaline on the day that decides such fixtures. New Express coach Shafiq Bisaso has had a baptism of fire. In his first game on Tuesday against Police FC, Express lost 0-1.
But Bisaso, who faces his former side, said: “Although Villa are in good form, we don’t fear them. We believe in ourselves and, therefore, are looking forward to the game.”
Last season, Villa went to Wankulukuku in buoyant spirit, hoping to upstage their hosts, but Express won 1-0, thanks to Allan Kyambadde’s goal.
This must have triggered Villa’s decision to sign Kyambadde this season alongside Simon Sserunkuma, Mahad Kakooza and Musa Mukasa, all former Express stalwarts. The excitement of playing against their former side must ride high for the aforementioned players. But not any less for Villa’s coach Wasswa Bbosa, who coached Express for so many years.
But Bbosa, whose team edged Onduparaka 1-0 on Tuesday, was guarded in his views about today’s game.
“I have been involved in this derby for too long as a player and coach, so; I cannot underestimate them,” Bbosa said.
While Villa-Express games can be unpredictable, in the last six meetings between them, Villa has won four, Express one and a draw.
But Bisaso is unbothered by such statistics: “Since I arrived, I have handled a group of good footballers, who are physically fit. They just need to believe in themselves and we will win.”
Uganda premier league
SC Villa v Express@Masaka
Proline v KCCA@Lugogo
Vipers v Jinja SS@Kitende