Can Vipers win league title
- Written by MARK NAMANYA
It is down to one match. Just one. One football game. A race which started last year will be decided in the final 90 minutes of the Uganda Premier League season on Saturday, May 27.
It could come down to one moment of genius. Or one moment of madness. Or one moment of solitary brilliance. Or one moment of individual clumsiness. Or one moment of refereeing ineptitude.
Three teams all harbour hopes of winning the Championship. Vipers, KCCA and SC Villa are all hoping and praying that they take care of their own business and results elsewhere go their way.
If the league is to be decided on goal difference, SC Villa are most disadvantaged. The Jogoos have a vastly inferior goal difference when compared to both KCCA and Vipers. Villa’s only avenue to the trophy is by winning the league on points.
Goal difference would suit Vi- pers who have a healthy cushion. Yet the fact of the matter is that none of the teams vying for the title has a straightforward match on the final day.
Vipers have Busoga United at St Mary’s Kitende stadium, which on paper should be a straightforward game. But the Jinja-based side intent is on put- ting in a professional shift to act as party spoilers.
Their status for next season’s topflight is secured and they will want to wrap up the season with a flourish. Vipers will be favourites, be- ing the home team and will be driven by a partisan crowd that is expected to fill the stadium. The Venoms, who have never won the Uganda Cup, are firmly in the hunt for their first-ever League and Cup double.
Alex Isabirye’s squad competed in the Caf Champions League this season and after a dismal show on the continent, the club are keen to return to Africa’s premier club competition next season to exorcise the demons of their group stage performances.
KCCA, meanwhile, have endured a turbulent season and a final day clash with Bright Stars will test their mettle to the limits. The mid-season resignation of Morley Byekwaso prompted the club to hastily appoint Jackson Mayanja in interim capacity but doubts persist as to whether the latter will get the job on a permanent basis.
Yet if Mayanja can somehow deliver the league title, the KCCA legend will have made it quite hard for his bosses to reject a full-time appointment. Bright Stars coach Asaph Mwebaze blew the title race wide open when he instigated a 1-0 upset of Vipers.
That result was evidence of how Bright Stars can rise up to any occasion and considering that they are playing for pride, they could pose danger to a KCCA side that will be tense.
SC Villa have arguably the hardest match – at home to Uganda Revenue Authority – and for that matter possess perhaps the thinnest of chances to emerge as 2023 champions.
Nelly Jackson Magera’s team have overachieved being where they are right now. And when you factor in that Villa were docked two points for hooliganism early in the season, the club faithful will wonder what could have been if they hadn’t engaged in behaviour that contravenes the laws and statutes of the game.
Still, the Jogoos will look back at a season of promise. Villa have tended to play well in matches where they weren’t expected to pick points. Conversely, they have disappointed in matches where they were fancied to prevail.
Magera’s charges, obviously, will have no control over matters elsewhere and their focus and concentration will be in stopping Derrick Ndahiro and Alfred Leku while hoping that Charles Bbaale puts the taxmen to the sword at the other end.
With the relegation matters settled, Saturday will be a day of fans closely monitoring proceedings at rival grounds using the internet or television off their smartphones.
Only twice in the history of Uganda’s top flight division – 1970 and 1985 – has the Uganda Premier League trophy been decided by goal difference.
There is a likely possibility of the league race coming down to goals. For the Uganda Premier League and the Federation, the final day drama will throw them a conundrum of who to station where with the championship trophy and party poppers. All this will be known, come Saturday. And it could be settled by one moment. Just one.
Journalists really need to be objective and professional. It is clear that the author is a viper fan, but showing too much bias will not help him.