Big League halfterm report: The return of Caesar Okhuti as Maroons disappoint in the Elgon group.

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By Alex Bossa

A total of 112 games were played in the first round of the FUFA Big League, producing 122 goals with an average of 1.09 goals per game across the two groups. The Rwenzori group produced the highest number of goals (67) with 13 coming from leaders Tooro United.

Today, we analyse the performance of teams in the Elgon Group.

With only 14 games to be played by each team save for the play offs, the Elgon group saw three managerial sackings. Mbale Heroes sacked Bobic Odoa, Gadaffi FC sacked Michael Ssebaggala while Paidha Black Angels decided to bring back Allan Kabonge.

At the start of the season, few would predict that by the end of the first round, Paidha Black Angels would be lying rock bottom with a single point thanks to that 1-1 result against draw masters Mbale Heroes.

The return of Big League promotion master Allan Kabonge has not done any magic yet for the former UPL team. A return of only 3 goals by Paidha is the lowest across the two groups while the 34 goals conceded are the highest conceded by any team in the division. The West Nilers are a shadow of themselves just like the Maroons.

Maroons were tipped to make a return to the UPL when the league started but five games without a win has seen the Luzira based club drop into the relegation zone with only one point collected in those games. The two wins at the start of the season had led many to believe that Maroons were on a mission to return to UPL. Maroons share similar wins statistic with Mbale Heroes.

The Surgeons as Mbale Heroes are called, have been beaten at home with the only two wins coming towards the end of the season, away at Maroons and Kataka FC. The poor run of form at home was made worse when the club was fined UGX 500,000 for breaking Covid 19 rules and saw the fans being banned from 2 home fixtures.

The hiring of coach Hussein Kari steadied the ship which was sinking with no victory in 4 league and cup fixtures at the time. Mbale Heroes has dropped four points after taking the lead in the home fixtures against Arua Hill and Paidha Black Angels but ended up drawing.

With 5 goals scored and a similar number of goals conceded, Mbale Heroes share similar stats with Calvary Hill on goal difference. The first-round match between both teams can tell the goal difference as the game ended goalless in Mbale City.

Meanwhile Calvary Hill started the season by conceding only one goal in the opening three games thanks to the two clean sheets kept by their shot stopper Nadir Mohamad.

Calvary Hill formed in 2008 as a gospel team, has given the big boys a challenge in their debut season gunning up three wins and more notably a 2-1 win against Maroons FC. The Yumbe based club has won one against Paidha Black Angels and lost one against Arua Hill FC in the West Nile derbies.

The Horizon Stars need to work on their concentration towards the end of the game as all goals they have conceded have come up in the second half of each game.Out of the three wins Calvary has registered this season, the opening day 1-0 victory game against Kataka FC recorded an under 2.5 goal score.

Calvary Hill opening with victory on the other hand motivated their opponents Kataka  FC who by going into the last first round fixture were fourth with 12 points alongside Arua Hill FC. The Lufumbi boys won four out of the five  games after that loss in Arua and the highlight was a 3-0 home win against bottom placed club Paidha Black Angels. The 1-2 derby loss to Mbale Heroes condemned Kataka to fourth position below 3rd placed Black Powers on goal difference.

Black Power’s loss to Kataka at home was their first home loss in their debut season. The team from Bukedea have been this season’s surprise package with the highlight being a 1-0 eastern derby win away to Mbale Heroes.The Bukedea based team will need to improve on their away form. Black Power occupy the final playoff position in the Elgon group with 12 points

The signing of Joel Madondo was a masterclass as the striker made his presence well known scoring on his league debut in a 1-0 home win against Mbale Heroes. A string of poor performances followed, losing their next two games against Maroons and Kataka respectively. The run of poor form saw Ssebaggala sacked and since then the club discovered it’s winning formula winning three and drawing one out of the four games to move into second position.

The 2-2 draw in West Nile against table leaders Arua Hill was the highlight of the season for Gadafi FC who trail the table leaders by 2 points.

Table leaders Arua Hill went into the mid-season break leading the Elgon group with 15 points. Coach Hussein Mbalangu built an all attacking team with the experienced veteran striker Caesar Okhuti leading the line.

Okhuti has spearheaded an attacking line that has scored 13 league goals so far, which is the league’s best in the Elgon group. “That’s why Caesar is the captain. He is a very good man; he works like a 17-year-old boy. The way he works in the team, he plays, listens, controls the game is good. As I told you, we are two coaches. I’m coaching outside, he is coaching inside. So, he is very instrumental in our campaign and see the goals which he scored, that is seniority,” said coach Hussein Mbalangu immediately after Okhuti scored an equalizer against Mbale Heroes at the Mbale Municipal Stadium.

The groin injury he sustained in a 2-2 home draw against Gaddafi FC did little damage as Baden Mujahid took over the captainship of the team and led by example in the 2-0 West Nile derby win against Paidha Black Angels.

The Leopards have not lost a league game this season with the team registering 4 wins and drawing 3 with their shot stopper Richard Anyama keeping four clean sheets in the league so far.

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