Uganda Premier League
Express FC vs SC Villa
BetWay Muteesa II Stadium, Wankulukuku
Friday, 13-09-2019 @4pm
KAMPALA – Back in 1975, Nakivubo Boys (now SC Villa) was born and most of its founding players were Express rejects. Despite both teams playing in different divisions, a rivalry on which Ugandan football has been shaped was given birth to.
44 years down the road and 22 league titles between them (Villa 16 and Express 6), the rivalry still exists although not as fierce and bloody as it was once was.
With KCCA FC and Vipers fighting for the League crown of recent, Express and Villa have endured frustrating recent seasons, battling at the wrong end of the table but despite the change in ambitions, both sets of fans still treasure games between the two eternal rivals.
In the past two seasons, both Express and Villa have endured relegation scares with the Red Eagles doing so in the 2017/18 campaign while 2018/19 was the Jogoos turn.
On Friday afternoon, the two sides will face off for the first time in the 2018/19 season, at the Betway Mutessa II Stadium in Wankulukuku.
Express have got off to a non-convincing start as they have managed just a single victory so far and are languishing at the wrong side of the standings.
The solitary victory came in their last game, requiring a late Daniel Shabena goal to beat Mbarara City FC 3-2 at Luzira Prisons grounds.
The result eased pressure on under-fire tactician George Ssemwogerere who had initially picked just a point from his first three games as he lost to both Bul FC and Onduparaka either side of a home draw against Onduparaka.
Friday’s game against Villa gives Ssemwogerere the perfect platform to finally convince the Red Eagles faithful that he is indeed the right man to take them forward.
“We have trained hard and wherever the boys will play I believe they will perfect their roles, said Ssemwogerere ahead of the game.
“We take on our eternal rival but I do not care I expect victory as we did against Mbarara City last time.
However, it will not be easy as they take on a Villa side that currently sits top of the standings with seven points from four games.
After an opening day loss to debutants Kyetume, the Jogoos have responded well, winning twice and drawing the other of their preceding three fixtures.
A win against Mbarara City and a draw with Police were followed by a boardroom decision that handed them three points in their fixture with Proline which had earlier been forfeited after the Lugogo based side failed to turn up for the proposed game last Saturday.
With last season seemingly behind them, Edward Kaziba will very much want to continue his bright start as Villa manager with victory over their sworn enemies.
Express FC are still struggling over the fitness of first-choice custodian Mathaius Muwanga who is yet to feature this season. Joshua Adea who has started in their last three games is expected to once again get the nod over the returning Tony Kyamera. The Red Eagles are still expected to be without right-back Emmanuel Baffoe who got injured in the 2-0 loss to Onduparaka FC on match-day three.
For SC Villa, they will be without Charles Lwanga and Gavin Kizito who are currently training with the national U20 side, in Njeru. The Jogoos are also still minus Benson Muhindo who is out injured. However, they will be boosted by the return of Saidi Keni and Douglas Owori. The two have been with the Cranes team preparing for their CHAN qualifiers against Burundi but it has been communicated that they will be released to feature in the game.
This is the 19th meeting between the two sides since June 2011.
In the previous 18 match-ups, SC Villa have won 8, Express 5 and the other 5 have ended in draws.
Villa have been enjoying the better ran in fixtures between these two recently, winning 6 of the last 10 games whilst losing only once and drawing thrice.
However, the Jogoos have not defeated Express in any of their last four visits to Wankulukuku, drawing three times and losing the other.
Villa’s last victory away to Express was in March 2015 when the Jogoos ran out 3-0 winners.
The reverse fixture last season ended 1-1 after Villa had beat Express 2-0 at Namboole in the first round game this season.
Going into Friday’s game, Express have won only one of their last five league games (D2 L2). The only win in that period came in the 3-2 victory over Mbarara City in the Red Eagle’s last League game.
At home, George Ssemwogerere’s side have won only two of their last five league games (D2 L1).
Villa too have not been in good form of late as they have won only two of their last five games in the League (D1 L2).
The other game on Friday
-URA FC vs Tooro United @4:30pm