Hits and misses in the Uganda Premier League first round

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By Morris Rawal

The first round of the 2022/2023 Startimes Uganda Premier League came to a close with the league disbanding to allow the Uganda Cranes squad to begin their preparations for the impending 2023 CHAN tournament in Algeria, which begins on January 14 and runs through February 4 of that year.

KCCA FC comfortably led the standings with 29 points after 14 games played, after snapping their nine-game undefeated streak against Bright Stars on matchday 14.

BUL FC, who defeated Maroons FC 5-0 on closing day, are currently in second place overall with 27 points, only two behind KCCA FC in the standings. They had previously fallen to Vipers 2-1, but they are now ahead of the reigning champs thanks to a superior goal differential.

Following KCCA FC’s loss to Bright Stars on the previous day, the defending champions Vipers SC appear to be losing their battle to remain at the top of the standings after blowing a wonderful opportunity to hold that position. 

The Venoms lost their matchday 14 match against struggling Busoga United by a score of 1-0. With 27 points, Vipers are now in third place behind BUL, who has a stronger goal differential.

Wakiso Giants have had a stronger start to the season than most teams, as they now sit in fourth place with 25 points after 14 games played.

The purple sharks have put on one of their best league performances, controlling the top of the table for nearly two months while playing the league’s best football.
Head coach John Luyinda Ayala has had a superb performances that his team has put on display this season.

They will enter the second round with high expectations because the title race is still within their grasp.

After having a rough start to the season, SC Villa, Arua Hill, Gaddafi, and Bright Stars are the teams that have improved the most. With better performances as the first round of the league came to a close, these teams were able to move up the log, with SC Villa currently in fifth place with 24 points, Arua Hill in sixth place with 23 points, Gaddafi in seventh place with 21 points, and Bright Stars in eighth place with 20 points.

Express FC is currently ninth on the standings, but the Wankulukuku-based team appears to have performed below expectations as they only managed to accumulate 17 points from 14 games, with squad balancing being a major weakness for coach James Odoch, who began the year as a better replacement for Wasswa Bbosa, who left the team. The first seven games saw them play at their best, with only one loss, two draws, and four victories. However, the next seven games saw them struggle, as they only managed to earn three points.

Maroons FC have produced some eye-catching performances, such as their 1-0 victory over the table-toppers KCCA FC, where striker Fred Amaku, who now leads the league in goals scored with seven, put in great performances. With 15 points, the convicts’ team is presently ranked tenth.

URA FC has been the most underwhelming team in the first round of the league. They were considered one of the title contenders based on how they conducted themselves in the transfer market, but they haven’t lived up to their potential due to poor performances and boardroom problems, which have caused them to win just two games and draw eight others, leaving them in 11th place with 14 points.

Blacks Power, UPDF FC, Busoga United, and Onduparaka are in the relegation fight. These teams have encountered several difficulties, including Busoga United and Onduparaka losing points for unruly fans, and they now appear destined for relegation after being promoted to the top division. Blacks Power, one of the three new teams for the 2022–23 season, has only been able to win two games and draw five others, placing them in 12th place with 11 points.

Busoga United, who have not yet recorded a tie, have lost the most games (10), won four, and are now in third place with nine points after the competition’s disciplinary panel docked them four points for supporter indiscipline. UPDF FC are currently in thirteenth place with just ten points.

The second round of the season will be used by Onduparaka FC to revive their season after playing their first five home games away from home since they don’t appear to be improving anytime soon. They lie at the bottom of the standings in position 14 with seven points, thus a push factor that will have to improve their performances if they are to avoid relegation is a return to their famed Green Light Stadium.

Fred Amaku of Maroons is presently leading the race for the golden boot with seven goals, followed by the revitalized Nelson Ssenkatuuka of Bright Stars with six goals, Vipers’ Yunus Ssentamu with six goals despite dealing with ailments, and Alex Kitata of Gaddafi with six goals.

Allan Kayiwa of Express FC, Owen Kasule of the Wakiso Giants, and Karim Ndugwa of BUL FC each have five goals to their credit.

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