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The return of StarTimes Uganda Premier League, debutant players impress during round 1

StarTimes Uganda Premier League 2020-21:

Match Day 1 Results:

Soltilo Bright Stars 1-2 KCCA

Mbarara City 1-1 URA

BUL 2-2 SC Villa

Police 0-0 Wakiso Giants

Kyetume 1-1 Kitara

UPDF 3-0 Busoga United

Onduparaka 1-1 Express

The Coronavirus pandemic subjected the sporting fraternity, in particular, the football family to unprecedented times since a national lock-down was communicated by the head of state on 18th March 2020.

Among the affected sections of football was the StarTimes Uganda Premier League where action for the 2019-20 season was abruptly halted with 5 rounds to play, declaring Vipers Sports Club the champions.

After a lengthy period, football returned, albeit without the fans amidst compliance to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) outlined by the Government and the Ministry of Health in the mitigation of the pandemic.

Some of these SOP’s included testing of team players, officials and necessary staff for COVID-19, regular hand-washing, sanitizing, wearing of face-masks and physical social distancing, among others.

Match day one of the top flight league was successfully held with the exception of the Vipers – MYDA game that was put on hold because the reigning champions had a match away from home in the CAF Champions League away to Al Hilal Omdurman in Khartoum.

A total of 16 goals were netted in as many as 8 matches, 5 draws (one of which ended goal-less), 2 red cards and 2 outright victories.

UPDF’s 3-0 convincing victory against visiting Busoga United at the Army Military Stadium in Bombo was the most outstanding win, driving the newly promoted entity to the summit of the league standings, ahead of KCCA who won 2-1, away to Bright Stars at the Kavumba Recreational Stadium in the very first game of the season.

Heated up action between Soltilo Bright Stars and KCCA at Kavumba Recreational Stadium, Wakiso (Credit: Soltilo Bright Stars Media)

That said, a couple of players made their debuts at the respective clubs.

Right from the very opening match on Friday between Soltilo Bright Stars and KCCA at Kavumba, debutants had impressive performances.

Striker Brian Aheebwa, Italian midfielder Mazengo Loro, Dennis Iguma, Juma Balinya, Charles Lwanga all had their first official outings at KCCA.

It was Aheebwa with the field day at office, volleying home the opener for the visitors.

Brian Aheebwa celebrates the opening goal for KCCA (Credit: KCCA FC Media)

Soltilo Bright Stars’ Joseph Akandwanaho, like Aheebwa also scored on his debut.

Head coach Baker Mbowa marked his first game ever in the dug out for Soltilo Bright Stars.

He also granted debuts to defender Simon Kato Ssemayange, Allan Katwe, Marvin Youngman and Jamil Kisitu Nvule.

Despite missing a kick from the penalty mark,  URA striker Steven Mukwala was on the mark in his first ever match for the tax collector’s funded club.

Another debutant on the other side, Bashir Mutanda missed opening up his goal account when his kick from the penalty spot was thwarted by Mbarara City’s goalkeeper Muhammed Ssekebba at the Kakyeka Stadium in Mbarara City.

Police FC captain Tonny Mawejje had a few moments of brilliance on the ball before he limped out during the goal-less draw at home against Wakiso Giants at the MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo.

Mubarak Nsubuga, goalkeeper Tom Ikara, Frank Tumwesigye were other new faces for Police.

Frank Tumwesigye dribbles the game against Wakiso Giants at the MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo (Credit: Police FC)

Wakiso Giants themselves had a couple of debutants who had a good account of themselves as defender Edward Satulo, Joshua Lubwama and the like.

UPDF’s 3-0 victory over Busoga United in Bombo was spiced up by the goals.

The biggest positive is that two of the goals came from new players on board; the Brian duo of Kayanja and Kalumba before defender Douglas Muganga’s deflected ball for the own goal.

UPDF Football Club players celebrate a goal (Credit: Courtesy)

Former SC Villa and Onduparaka goalkeeper Yusuf Waswa had his first game with the army side.

This also applied to Young Simba graduate Joseph Bright Vuni, Simon Mbaziira, Sam Kintu, Ibrahim Wamannah, Seif Batte, Hussein Zzinda, Dickens Okwir, Robert Eseru, Ivan Kato and the Pilsner man of the match Isa Mubiru.

UPDF Left back Isa Mubiru a.k.a Essein was Pilsner man of the match

Busoga United had Ashraf Batwawula, former Simba midfielder Gerald Bagoole.

At the Green Light Stadium in Arua, 10 man Express earned a point during their contest with Onduparaka.

Express had a couple of new recruits getting game time with defenders Enock Walusimbi and Murushid Juuko, Abel Eturude, Godfrey Lwesibawa, Charles Musiige, Denis Mubuya, Daniel Shabene, Ibrahim Kayiwa and Eric Kambale, Charles Musiige, George Ssenkaaba, Issa Lumu and John Byamukama.

Walusimbi, also the Express captain was sent off for unsporting conduct.

Action between Onduparaka and Express in Arua (Credit: Express FC Media)
Onduparaka’s Living Kabon was Pilsner man of the match

In their 1 all draw against Kitara at the FUFA Technical Centre – Njeru, Kyetume’s Charles Livingstone Mbabazi had his debut as coach.

He also accorded a couple of players their first minutes for the Slaughters as Joshua Kigozi, Musitafa Mujjuzi, Nicholas Kasozi, Ezra Kaye and Stephen Kabuye.

Kitara FC’s Brian Muruli Mayanja celebrates his team’s equalizer against Kyetume at the FUFA Technical Center, Njeru

New-comers Kitara had rookies to the top flight league like goalkeeper Hillington Musoke, Oscar Munihizi, Patrick Mugume, Stuart Mwesigwa, Vincent Kasoki, Dennis Monday, Nathan Ololo, Rogers Lwebuga as coach Anthony Ssekitto also marked his official duties at the Kabalega boys since his last served Bukedea Town Council in the StarTimes FUFA Big League.

Match day two of the StarTimes Uganda Premier League returns on Tuesday, 8th December 2020 and on the subsequent day.

Match –Day 2 Fixtures:

Tuesday 8th December 2020:

· KCCA FC Vs Onduparaka FC, MTN Omondi Stadium-Lugogo (4:00 pm) – Live on Sanyuka TV

· MYDA FC Vs Police FC , King George IV Memorial Stadium-Tororo (4:00pm )

· Busoga United FC Vs BUL FC, FUFA Technical Center-Njeru (4:00pm)

· Wakiso Giants FC Vs Kyetume FC , Kabaka Kyabaggu Sports Stadium-Wakiso (4:00pm )

· URA FC Vs Soltilo Bright Stars FC, Arena of Visions-Ndejje University-Bombo (4:00pm)

Wednesday 9th December 2020

· SC Villa Vs Mbarara City FC , Bombo Military Barracks Grounds-Bombo (4:00 pm) – Live on Sanyuka TV

· Kitara FC Vs UPDF FC, Kavumba Recreation Ground-Wakiso (4:00pm)

MAIN PHOTO: Police’s Hassan Mahmood is closed down by Wakiso Giants Joshua Lubwama during match day 1 of the StarTimes Uganda Premier League at the MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo on Friday 4th December 2020 (Credit: Police FC Media)

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