KAMPALA – On Wednesday, the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) President, Moses Magogo announced that the Uganda Premier league would not resume.
This was after it became evident that football and other sports would not resume in the near future due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.
With the next season just around the corner and CAF pressuring its members to come up with viable option so as to conclude their respective top-flight campaigns, FUFA applied the 75% rule and resolved that the table standings after 25 games would be considered.
As a consequence, Vipers SC were declared champions of the 2019/20 season, winning their fourth league title in the process. Before the halt in March, the Venoms sat top of the pile on 50 points, four ahead of second placed KCCA FC.
At the wrong end of the standings, Maroons FC, Proline FC and Tooro United FC who sat in the bottom three spots were eventually relegated.
Whether the last five games would have altered the destiny of some clubs (top and bottom), will always remain a mystery but it is sad to see a season end prematurely.
It has been one hell of a season for all 16 clubs as they were involved in different battles at different ends of the table.
The competition aside, this season has witnessed a record number of coaches leave or lose their jobs at a certain points in time with Tooro United and Wakiso Giants FC having three different managers.
The top scorer’s gong will most likely go to Steven Mukwala of Maroons FC, who led the chats with 13 goals, with Vipers SC striker Fahad Bayo following closely behind on 12.
With the season now officially ended, PML Daily has approached several football experts in the country about their take of the campaign as a whole.
Ismail Kiyonga – Kawowo Sports
It was an average season that lacked consistency in top level performances from both clubs and individual players.
You could hardly notice any standout team save for URA FC in the second round and maybe Vipers in the first round before that defeat to KCCA at Lugogo.
The decision to end the league was unavoidable given the extended lockdown due to Coronavirus but many teams will feel they had a chance to finish in better positions if the season concluded.
You can’t fail to feel for Maroons, Proline and Tooro United who had a chance to stay up as well as KCCA who had an opportunity to catch Vipers at the top.
Fortunately, the decision to end the season is based on competition rules so no suspicions of particular teams or individuals being targeted.
Peace Diane Bagala – CBS FM/BBS TV
The competition ended prematurely and for a league that usually plays late, even without such a situation, you think Fufa should have waited. Five games can be played in three weeks.
Then about officiating the referees’ body should devise means of protecting the game
Several club officials talked of match fixing and this looks like the new norm in the game.
All in all, i enjoyed the football and it is unfortunate we never witnessed the last game for each of the 16 sides.
David Isabirye – Kawowo Sports
The 2019/2020 UPL season has been so unfortunate that it was disrupted and determined by a force majeure (Covid-19).
After promising so much, the final end has not been decided on sporting merit but rather the boardroom.
It again hints to key life lessons and vital learning points. Clubs ought to treat equally and accord respect to all their respective matches being played.
Vipers was advantaged by the fact that they were top of the log. It is however unfair that with the remaining games, the table would have been turned around for better positions of all clubs.
Brian Tuka – Capital FM
First of all I thought it would be a little more competitive putting in my mind URA having Sam Simbwa at the helm. I thought he would give KCCA and Vipers SC a good run for their money but turned out different.
I felt Vipers just found a way to win nothing more, KCCA could and should have done a much better job but I think the chopping and changing of the team affected them big time.
A few surprises in there. I thought SC Villa punched way above their weight so did BUL FC, never mind their second round performance.
The ending never the best, championships should be won on the pitch but circumstances couldn’t allow.
You have to question the manner in which FUFA handled this, clubs weren’t consulted at least that’s what most say, then also did they engage the government to ask when they would allow the sport to return or try convince the them (Gov’t) and see if they could play behind closed doors and a couple of other options.
In the end, i feel there was alittle more time so they (FUFA) could have waited until they were told that sport couldn’t return till late in the year.
Brian Kawalya – Sports Nation
It was a good one that provided us with strong performances to remember.
Many positives to take including increase in fans attendance in stadiums.
But for years to come, it will be remembered for its anticlimax.
Isa Nsereko – NimSport
I think we would have waited and finish the five rounds/fixtures, that is if there was no personal interests in the decision.
Elsewhere in Europe where the pandemic badly hit are having arrangements moving to finish, why here where no body has died.
This decision has got an impact onto football. There are teams relegated but would have had a chance to fight for their lives and the reverse is true.
Who can come out with a prophecy that vipers would win all the remaining fixtures?
Then for KCCA FC to represent Uganda in Confederations Cup, what was the criteria. They believe that they can finish the tourney, what if another team wins yet you already forwarded KCCA to CAF??
Andrew Mwangunya – Daily Monitor
Given the circumstances, no decision was always going to be welcomed unanimously. And the decision was almost inevitable after the President extended lockdown.
Of course teams will feel they had a chance to finish in better positions. Relegated teams like Maroons, Proline and Tooro United still had a chance to stay up, KCCA could have still beaten Vipers to the title but it’s what it is. Fortunately, decision was based on rules.
Sinan Rajab – Swift Sports
It’s absurd that the fans have been robbed of the most interesting part of the season, that’s the season climax but that’s understandable because of the current situation in the country.
Generally, I have not been impressed by the performance of many clubs because majority of them have been operating below their potential. Vipers are league champions because they were more consistent.
But there has been virtually no difference between mid-table clubs that’s why the ones that lost points from the boardroom got relegated.
Clive Kyazze – Football256
I would like to think the premature ending was inevitable because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even some of the countries with better facilities had to cancel their respective leagues.
All in all, i think it was the right decision to make and i think it even took long.
The quality of the league was not that impressive. When you look at the two teams that were fighting for the title, you can not say they were miles ahead of the rest. It was may be because of their pedigree but not performances.
Was impressed by SC Villa and URA FC especially in the second round of the season. For Villa, after a poor 2018/19 season, Edward Kaziba and assistant Ibrahim Kirya came in and changed everything and were still in the run in for the title before the league was ended.
Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo – National Council of Sports (NCS)
I think we are in extremely unprecedented times where it’s not about being right and wrong but staying alive.
We all don’t know when the crisis will end so tough decisions have to be made quickly. Sad for the relegated teams but that’s sport today across the world.
I would love to add that it wasn’t the most competitive. Vipers didn’t really hit second gear to win because KCCA were average most of the season.
You have to also be impressed by how SC Villa came from the brink last season to finish third this season under coach Edward Kaziba.
URA should and could have done better that this while Express’ poor start almost sunk them into a ditch again until that midseason renaissance.
Marion Malinga – PML Daily
By now, every local football fan ought to have received the memo that Vipers SC added to their honours.
Following the extension of the country’s lockdown due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease that has affected every aspect of life globally, the Entebbe road giants were declared the 2019/2020 league champions on Wednesday.
Some rival fans may feel Vipers’ cause was ‘helped’ by the current disaster, but there are also those that feel KCCA weren’t up to the task, and therefore have no qualm about the federation’s decision.
Why have I mentioned only the Kasasiros? Well, recent history says only two clubs can realistically win the league.
The competition is clearly between only those two while the rest simply appear to participate.
Match fixing among other alarming issues has rendered the other clubs incapable of competing. I’m not saying the above mentioned clubs are impeccable! The vice however, has majority affected those clubs struggling financially. Because they pay peanuts, delay payments and motivate less their playing staff, the players are lured into such practices.
And it’s not just the players; it is said that some coaches, club owners, club administrators are culprits as well. Match fixing has pathetically left the league less competitive as some of the actors have chosen dough over the beautiful game. In my understanding, there’s no way the league can be competitive when almost everyone involved in the game is practicing the vice.