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Ten things that defined 2022/23 Uganda Premier League season

Vipers with the Uganda Premier League trophy

Vipers with the Uganda Premier League trophy

Saturday’s league conclusion was one of the most dramatic in the 55-year history of the Ugandan topflight League. But while Vipers’ triumph has hogged the headlines, there were other issues that will forever be associated with the 2022-23 campaign, writes MARK NAMANYA.


When Vipers unveiled Beto Bianchi, it was deemed to be the beginning of a new era. Little did we know that it was the beginning of an era.

The Brazilian-Spaniard was out of his depth in his time at the Venoms. He presided over one of the most listless managerial reigns in the history of Ugandan League football with Vipers failing to score a goal in his time.


Onduparaka were once the toast of the UPL. They were seen as a club of the West Nile community and their arrival was considered a breath of fresh air to the league.

Sadly, Onduparaka lost direction with on-and-off pitch issues that hastened their relegation. Next season, they will play in the Big League.


The calm Morley Byekwaso was supposed to have taken KCCA to new heights. The club hierarchy were so desperate for him to succeed after they endorsed him to replace Mike Mutebi. But Byekwaso failed to impose his personality on a team that has winning in its DNA. He jumped before he was pushed.


Uganda has a genuine goal-scoring problem. The 2023 season ended with Express forward Allan Kayiwa as topscorer with just 13 goals.

In a 28-match league, a return of 13 represents less than a goal every two games. Little wonder that the national team labours to convert the few opportunities.


The tears flowed at Wankulukuku on Saturday but Villa fans shouldn’t be too crestfallen. This was a successful season for coach Nelly Jackson Magera and the Jogoos.

No team won more matches than them and yet they don’t possess the squad depth and talent to match KCCA and Vipers. Villa punched way above their weight.


SC Villa are not champions because of acts of hooliganism in their home match against Wakiso Giants. The club were docked two points and forced to play their matches in Lira.

By and large, hooliganism cases were isolated. Perhaps it is a sign of increased awareness among fans and the understanding that there is a cost to it.


Not many footballers stood out. It was mostly average performances from players who should have taken over their teams and lead from the front.

Moses Waiswa was at best average at KCCA while injury-prone Yunus Sentamu didn’t really thrive in the aftermath of Cesar Lobi Manzoki’s departure. Yet Milton Karisa was perhaps the best player of the league. The Vipers skipper struck key goals and led from the front for the Venoms.


Ugandan football is not a story without Express. But the aristocrats have struggled financially and more often than not, those struggles manifest themselves on the field of play.

That the Red Eagles finished a dismal 10th is evidence of a season to forget. The club’s management have their work cut out in restoring glory at Wankulukuku.


With the likelihood of anyone from SC Villa, Vipers and KCCA winning the trophy, the country wondered how Fufa were going to pull off the prize-giving ceremony.

Lugogo, Wankulukuku and Kitende are not exactly within the same vicinity. Yet Fufa pulled a masterclass by flying the trophy and medals in a chopper. It will be remembered for the ages.


If you missed Karim Ndugwa’s strike for BUL against Vipers at St Mary’s Kitende towards the end of the first round, consider yourself truly unlucky.

Spotting Alfred Mudekereza off his line, the then BUL forward hit a peach of a strike to give the Jinja-based side the lead. It was the goal of the season by some distance. Sadly, for Ndugwa, Vipers bounced back to win the game 2-1. Little wonder the Venoms went on to poach him from BUL in the mid-season window.

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