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Stakes high as Vipers host Villa in Uganda Cup semi-final second leg

The Vipers SC and SC Villa semi-final second leg tie in the Stanbic Bank Uganda Cup today is expected to be hot tempered.

Following the events in the first leg that ended goalless at the Mutesa II stadium in Wankulukuku on May 27, it is difficult not to countenance heightened emotions this time round. In fact, the first leg was capped by the firing of tear gas to disperse sections of errant fans upon the final whistle.

Vipers' Duncan Sseninde and Villa's Martin Kiiza during the first leg of their Uganda Cup semi-final ten days ago

As a result of that, a list bearing some Villa fans names was released last week declaring them persona non grata at Kitende. They are deemed dangerous and destructive, so they will not be allowed in the stadium at Kitende.

This did not go down well with the rest of the Villa fraternity, hence heightening the tension between the two clubs. However, at the end of the day, there is hope, that football will ultimately win. SC Villa coach Wasswa Bbosa, told The Observer that his hope is that the fans come to the St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende to support their respective clubs.

“It was not nice seeing the hooliganism, that was in the first leg. We all come to the stadium hoping to see teams play good football, not fans throwing stones,” Bbosa said.

For the sanctity of the game, Bbosa’s message could not be timelier, yet he insists that his main focus is on ensuring that his players do well. Bbosa said that their job is straightforward: “We just need to win the game and we are in the final. But even a score draw will be enough to get us there.”

It is on that fact, that this game remains very dicey. While Vipers were satisfied about the first leg result away from home, any goal by Villa in the second leg will mean, that they must score twice, to win the game outright. And like Vipers midfielder Moses Waiswa said, the ball is in their court to complete the job.

However, Vipers will have to do what every other team, that has faced Villa in this season’s cup have failed to do - score against them. In all Villa’s five Uganda Cup games to-date, the Jogoos have not conceded a goal. That is a mark of their solidity as a team.

In addition, with eight goals to their name, Villa has shown that they have the knack to get the odd goal. Yet, it goes without saying, that without some key players, Villa has its work cut out. Goalkeeper Samson Kirya, holding midfielder Nicholas Kasozi, attacking midfielder Ambrose Kirya and Simon Sserunkuma, strikers George Ssenkaaba and Alex Kitatta are all huge doubts.

But Bbosa said that although most of the aforementioned are actually ruled out, that will not destruct them.

“For the last few weeks, we have been without a number of our team members, because they were injured, but still managed to remain competitive. Therefore, we will be able to do the job with the players available,” Bbosa said.

Without his first choice centre-forwards, Bbosa is planning to ask Yubu Bogere to lead his line. And with midfielders Allan Kyambadde, Martin Kiiza, Abel Eturude and Vitalis Tabu, Villa remains formidable once they bring their ‘A’ game.

Villa's right back Joseph Nsubuga beats Duncan Sseninde to the ball during a close duel in the first leg

Bbosa admitted that playing on the counter-attack is inevitably going to be his team’s approach. Soaking in the pressure, before catching Vipers on the break will be the ploy.

Actually, Villa captain defender Bernard Muwanga is in every likelihood expected to play as Villa’s holding midfielder, in front of Isa Lumu and Henry Katongole at the heart of defence.

Largely, it will be a similar strategy from Bbosa’s team, as was the first leg. But as for Vipers, they will be expected to play on the front foot being at home. Vipers’ assistant coach Edward Golola said that as much as they respect Villa, and expect this game to be hard, they have to be offensive.

Golola noted that the only way they can make the Uganda Cup final is by scoring more goals than Villa. And Golola is in no doubt that their players are set and focused to make it to another their fourth Uganda Cup final.

Meanwhile, Vipers will be without midfielder Tadeo Lwanga, who is sitting this game out due to accumulation of yellow cards. But that will not stop this game, where the winner is awaited by KCCA FC (the defending champions) from being the cracker, that it has been projected to be.

Vipers players were promised Shs 1 million if they eliminate Villa. Yet, this does not mean that Villa players will have less incentive to win. The pride alone of winning a tenth Uganda Cup, will be a huge basis for them to fight on a ground, where the crowd is largely going to be against them. 

jovi@observer.ug

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