By Daniel Lutaaya
With four games to go for Police football club, it is looking as bright as day that the cops’ marksman Juma Balinya’s boot will be golden at the end of the Startimes Uganda premier league season.
At 19 goals now, the Police FC attacking midfielder has already surpassed last season’s top scorer Dan “Muzeeyi” Serunkuma and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
Serunkuma shook the back of the net 17 times to win the golden boot in a season where Balinya just managed one goal in his first season with Police FC against Masavu.
Yesterday, Balinya stole the show as the Cops arrested the green army for the first time at the sixth attempt.
His brace of free kicks in the first half made the difference at the Startimes stadium as they won 2-1 against Onduparaka.
Abdallah Mubiru’s side was not even at their lethal best. In fact, the caterpillars dominated the first minutes of the game, with the first goal coming against the run of play.
The shirt 18 of the Cops was hungry from the start with several attempted shots at visiting shot stopper Nicolas Sebwato’s goal but was denied for the first 30 minutes.
With nine minutes to the break, just when many were getting used to the idea of a goalless first half, Juma Balinya’s magic came into play.
The hosts got a free kick from close to 30 yards and everyone else just left the ball for their star man to take control, and control he took.
Balinya sent the ball on a trajectory to the far right corner of Nicolas Sebwato’s goal, but the shot stopper’s small touch on the ball wasn’t enough to stop it. It was well weighed, with a mark of a genius on it. This was his 18th and the first free Kick goal of the season. Already surpassing last year’s golden boot winner Daniel Sserunkuma by a goal.
The ensuing celebration was that of his role model, idol and to him, the best player in the world, Christiano Ronaldo.
But Juma wasn’t done. Like he was possessed by some supernatural being, minutes after his first goal, he came knocking on Onduparaka’s door again with step overs around around the visiting defenders through the central axis, and with in yards of Sebwato’s goal.
Again, he was brought down at the edge of the box, and when he stepped up, his take was a better and more difficult one to deal with than the first.
The Caterpillars’ number one didn’t move an inch as he watched the ball go past him, and Balinya celebrating his 19th goal of the season with his team mates.
In a phone interview with him after the game, Balinya revealed to me that the second goal was his second best of the season after the third goal in their 3-1 win over Mbarara city in the first round.
The second half saw Police start like a house on fire with runs made and chances blown away but it was Onduparaka that almost kick started a comeback after a fumble from Ivan Bukenya got pounced on by Vianne Sekajugo to slot home.
The game ended 2-1 in favour of the cops and was the first ever win for Police against Onduparaka in the Startimes Uganda Premier league.
With 19 goals and four games to the end of the season, it is highly unlikely that any of the chasers will leapfrog Balinya for the golden boot.
Sports Club Villa’s Bashir Mutanda and Kirinya Jinja SS’ Joel Madondo are the nearest to his crown with 13 goals each but with Juma’s form, it will be very difficult to dislodge him.
Former KCCA FC striker Geoffrey Sserunkuuma was the last striker to score 20 goals or more in the Uganda premier league in the 2016/17 season, but before that Herman Wasswa had last achieved the feat playing for SC Villa and KCCA FC in the 2012/13 season.