Football world wide and all the other sports have come to an unexpected halt due to the on going Coronavirus.
The Uganda Premier League which was also set to return in early May is currently in doubt as its expected resumption may not be achieved.
Even without the deadly pandemic, the UPL would still not have been played at this point in time as both the Federation and League governing body had agree to halt it so as to enable the National men’s football team (the Cranes) gear up for the 6th edition of CHAN, one that would eventually also be suspended, last month.
Before all that came into play, the UPL had only five rounds to play as all the 16 teams had played 25 of their 30 games.
As we approach the climax of the UPL action, PML Daily’s Shaban Lubega takes us through what he expects in the final five games and how many points each team will most likely collect, on top of their respective finishing positions.
Current position – 1st
Points accumulated after 25 rounds – 54
Vipers SC were without a doubt the best team in the opening 25 fixtures.
Despite a change in management at some point as Fred Kajoba replaced Edward Golola coupled with Fahad Bayo’s deep in form, the Venoms were intent on winning their 4th UPL crown.
With defending champions KCCA FC exhibiting a high degree of inconsistency, the Kitende based side looked headed for top spot at the end of the season.
January additions Paul Mucureezi and Milton Karisa will surely push them over the finish line as the pair have the necessary experience and quality to win Vipers the games they need in order to seal it.
In their last five games, i expect the Venoms to collect 12 points with victories over Busoga United, Tooro United FC, Bright Stars FC and Police FC.
Their only down side is expected to come in a loss to Express at the Mutessa II Stadium in Wankulukuku, one that the Venoms faithful will surely find it hard to swallow.
Vipers final five games
Busoga United FC (H), Tooro United FC (A), Bright Stars FC (H), Express FC (A), Police FC (H).
Projected final position – Champions
Projected final points tally – 66
Current position – 2nd
Points accumulated after 25 rounds – 50
KCCA FC were expected to find it extremely hard to retain the UPL title after notable departures and i am not surprised they are currently playing the chasing role.
Even with a ‘great’ academy that has produced a good number of players in the past, the Kasasiros had to do it the hard way so as to win a 14th league crown.
After the departures of up to four key players at the start of the season, Allan Okello too moved away in January to compound KCCA’s woes.
At some point, they look like they would be pushing Vipers FC to the title until the closing weeks of the season but a run of just two wins in their last six league games has seen Mike Mutebi’s side drop four points off the pace.
It would take a miracle of sorts to knock Vipers off the patch and i do not see that happening.
In their last five games, i expect KCCA FC to accumulate 10 points with victories over Busoga United, Onduparaka and BUL whilst drawing away to Wakiso Giants and losing to SC Villa.
KCCA FC’s final five games
SC Villa (A), Busoga United FC (H), Wakiso Giants FC (A), Onduparaka FC (A), BUL FC (H).
Projected final position – 2nd
Projected final points tally – 60
Current position – 3rd
Points accumulated after 25 rounds – 46
SC Villa have been one of the surprise sides of the UPL this season.
After struggling at the wrong end of the table throughout last season, the Jogoos have somehow improved immensely under the guidance of Edward Kaziba and his assistant Ibrahim Kirya.
The victory away to Vipers SC is without a doubt their highlight of a very good season so far and when the league resumes, i see them continuing from where they left off.
Mathematically they are still in the running for the league but realistically, they will not be able to add onto their record 16 titles.
I expect Villa to go unbeaten in their final five fixtures starting with victory at home to KCCA FC. However, i see them winning only once in the proceeding fixtures, taking care of Maroons with the other three games against Mbarara City FC, Kyetume FC and Wakiso Giants FC all ending in stalemates.
SC Villa final five games
KCCA FC (H), Mbarara City FC (A), Kyetume FC (H), Maroons FC (H), Wakiso Giants FC (A).
Projected final position – 3rd
Projected final points tally – 55
Busoga United FC
Current position – 4th
Points accumulated after 25 rounds – 42
Another side that has impressed in the current campaign.
Despite being a consistent mid-table team since promotion in 2016, Busoga have been in decent form in the opening 25 games and currently sit 4th on the standings.
With proper organization and well a established scouting network that has continued to spot youthful talent, the Jinja based side have once again proved they are in the top tier to stay.
Even with the departures of Joel Madondo and Boban Zirintusa in January, Abby Kikomeko’s side have continued to at least win the games that they are expected to.
However, i see them winning only one of their final five games as they have a tough run of fixtures which include visiting the both of the top two.
Losses to Vipers, KCCA and Police coupled with three points against Tooro United plus a draw at home to Proline, is how i see them finishing their season.
Busoga United FC final five games
Vipers SC (A), KCC FC (A), Tooro United FC (H), Police FC (A), Proline FC (H).
Projected final position – 5th
Projected final points tally – 46
Current position – 5th
Points accumulated after 25 rounds – 40
The departure of ex-CEO Ivan Kakembo looks like a blessing for URA FC who have improved form steadily.
At the point of Kakembo’s departure-who was at war with head coach Sam Simbwa, URA FC were closer to the relegation zone that they were to the top of the table.
However, the team has improved greatly and boost the best form in the country since the turn of the year.
In their 10 games in that period, they have won six whilst losing just twice.
The form of attacking midfielder Saidi Kyeyune has helped them immensely along with the resurgence of Michael Birungi and Cromwel Rwothomio.
Ther are no indications that the Tax Collectors are to slow down any time soon and coupled with a run of fixtures in which they play none of the top six, i see Simbwa’s men finishing strongly despite losing to Police FC in their latest fixture.
Victories over Wakiso Giants FC and Onduparaka FC coupled with draw against Proline, Maroons and Onduparaka is how i see URA fairing in their final five games.
URA FC final five games
Proline FC (A), Wakiso Giants FC (H), Maroons FC (A), Mbarara City FC (A), Onduparaka FC (H).
Projected final position – 4th
Projected final points tally – 49
Current position – 6th
Points accumulated after 25 rounds – 36
BUL FC got off to an impressive start to the campaign as they climbed as high as second at some stage in the first round.
However, things went south for them, going on a 9-match winless run that saw them collect just three points out of a possible 27.
That led to the sacking of tactician Peter Onen and his entire technical team.
Little known Arthur Kyesimira took over but could not make immediate impact as he failed to win any of his opening four games, picking up just a single point.
However, the Jinja based side looked to be improving in their last three games before the break as they collected six points, including an impressive 4-0 victory over Onduparaka in their last outing.
With first round hero Robert Mukongotya not scoring anymore and barely getting a kick of the ball in the first team as he spends most of his time on the bench, someone needs to step up and be counted.
BUL play host to two of the bottom four in their final five games, fixtures that i see them winning. But in their three away fixtures against Kyetume, Express and KCCA FC, i see them pick just a single point, coming at the Slaughters, taking their tally to 7 points in the remaining five games.
BUL FC final five games
Kyetume FC (A), Police FC (H), Express FC (A), Tooro United FC (H), KCCA FC (A).
Projected final position – 6th
Projected final points tally – 43
Mbarara City FC
Current position – 7th
Points accumulated after 25 rounds – 36
Mbarara City FC have had there troubles this season and their inconsistency has seen them drop out of the top four.
Under the youthful Brian Ssenyondo, they look good and must be regretting the appointment of Paul Nkata at some point earlier in the campaign.
With Ssenyondo now back, expect Mbarara to collect points in games they should not be losing.
In their final five games, they face all of the bottom three with two of those fixtures coming on the road.
I expect the Ankole Lions to go unbeaten until the end of the season despite taking on SC Villa and URA FC in the other two games.
Mbarara City final five games
Tooro United FC (H), SC Villa (H), Proline FC (A), URA FC (H), Maroons FC (A).
Projected final position – 7th
Projected final points tally – 43
Current position – 8th
Points accumulated after 25 rounds – 31
After taking the top tier by storm in their first three seasons, Onduparaka have shown signs of slowing down this campaign.
The departure of head coach Livingstone Mbabazi at the start of the season was an indication that all is not well at the Arua based side.
In the January transfer window, several players including captain Gadafi Wahabu departed but that came as no surprise as the Caterpillars’ troubles were well documented at the time.
As expected, Onduparaka struggled in their final six games, drawing only once (1-1 vs Mbarara City FC) whilst losing the other five.
I do not see them improving when the league resumes but they can come up with victory at home to Police in their match-day 27 fixture.
A draw at home to Bright Stars FC is the only another positive result i see them taking before losing all of their final three games.
Onduparaka FC final five games
Bright Stars FC (H), Proline FC (H), Police FC (A), KCCA FC (H), URA FC (A).
Projected final position – 11th
Projected final points tally – 35
To be continued