KAMPALA – Vipers SC were crowned champions of the 2019/20 Uganda Premier League 2019/20, five games short of the mandatory 30 for each of the 16 sides.
This was after FUFA decided to end the league prematurely due to the existing Covid-19 pandemic.
This is the Venoms’ fourth ever league title and despite the circumstances, they have gone on to celebrate it, all the same.
At the wrong end of the table, Maroons FC, Proline FC and Tooro United FC were all relegated to the FUFA Big League.
With the season now out of the way, PML Daily’s Shaban Lubega looks at the eleven stand out players of the UPL season in a 4:3:3 formation.
GK: Fabien Mutombora (Vipers SC)
A goalkeeper will always be judged on how many goals he lets in and in the entire season, Mutombora conceded a league low of 14 goals. He may not be the classy, ball-playing goalie that many enjoy to watch-now days, but one who gets the job done with his excellent shot-stopping abilities and game reading.
CB: Benjamin Nyakojo (URA FC)
Sam Simbwa’s sides are known to be defensively sound. Despite a slow start to the season, URA FC finally found their feet in the second round and looked solid at the back too. At the heart of their defence was Nyakojo who barely put a foot wrong.
CB: Hilary Mukundane (Mbarara City FC)
Even without the build of a traditional center-back, Mukundane continues to thrive in the UPL. Once again, the Mbarara City FC skipper impressed in defence, leading his side like he has always done in the past. Will not be surprised if he finally makes a move to one of the big five clubs before the start of next season.
CB: Derrick Ndahiro (SC Villa)
The one position that made me think so hard before selecting my best of the season. Choosing from Ndahiro, Mustapha Kizza and Disan Ggaliwango was always going to be hard especially after the season they have all had. However, despite the numbers suggesting otherwise, i picked young-Ndahiro because of his consistency throughout the campaign.
MF: Ashraf Mandela (URA FC)
One whose talent has never been in doubt but had somehow failed to make the next grade, in the past. However, Mandela now looks to be on course to doing exactly that and his performances for URA FC have been extremely good also earning him a spot in the National team set-up.
MF: Gift Ali (KCCA FC)
Where would KCCA FC have been without Gift Ali? That is a question i will leave to you my readers. Ali, led the team and literally carried them on his shoulder before dumping them into second spot. His intelligence and calmness ensured KCCA FC continued to fight for the title until the season ended despite playing the poorest brand of football they have exhibited in the Mike Mutebi era.
MF: Ambrose Kirya (SC Villa)
SC Villa have turned the tables after a close to disastrous 2018/19 campaign. Despite a troubled off-season too, they have surprisingly finished third with some of the old guns performing beyond expectation. One of them has been Kirya who has gone on to score seven goals this season and put out several man-of-the-match performances.
MF: Saidi Kyeyune (URA FC)
By a mile the most improved player in the league. Just when everyone thought Kyeyune was done, he seems to have revived his career this season, impressing throughout. A call up to the National team sums up how good he has been in 2019/20.
FW: Ben Ocen (Police FC)
Just like Juma Balinya last season, Ben Ocen has taken the initiative at Police FC. The attacking midfielder has benefited from Abdallah Mubiru’s style of play and kept on popping up with the goods in the final third, scoring a total of 12 despite missing several games.
FW: Steven Mukwala (Maroons FC)
On loan from Vipers SC, Mukwala hit the ground running at Maroons FC going on to end the season as top scorer with 13 goals.
FW: Fahad Bayo (Vipers SC)
What a debut season Bayo has had at Vipers! Scored 12 goals for the Venoms and as a consequence, broken into the National team. Tipped by many to be this season’s top scorer, earlier, and he should have won the gong, only for his lack of ruthlessness in front of goal on uncountable occasions.
Coach: Edward Kaziba (SC Villa)
After the 2018/19 season, no one would have predicted Villa finishing third the following campaign. However, under the guidance of Edward Kaziba and assistant Ibrahim Kirya, the Jogoos upset the odds and did exactly that. Can they sustain the form into next season, that is the billion dollar question!