As the Startimes Uganda premier league reaches the penultimate stage, many fans and football lovers are pondering who will take home the holy grail of Ugandan football, just as many or even more wonder which three teams will lie below the red line at the end.
League debutants Paidha Black Angels are already relegated leaving two drop down spots currently occupied by fellow league newbies Nyamityobora in 15th and Ndejje University in 14th.
Last season was one that had to be decided on match day 30, the last day of the league and it is looking possible that a repeat of this is imminent. This was clearly visible as a little known Ndejje university held record champions SC Villa to a goalless draw on Tuesday.
In a tense relegation six-pointer played out to a sizable crowd at the Mandela national stadium, Sc Villa huffed and puffed but still lacked that cutting edge in front of goal.
Villa came close on a few occasions with Pius Wangi and Magwali failing to fire on target.
In the second half, Coach Douglas Bamweyana introduced Ibrahim Semujju and crowd darling Bashir Mutanda to improve on the otherwise lethargic offence.
Mutanda almost immediately announced his presence on the field with a power-shot only stopped by the Ndejje goalkeeper who went on to win the man of the match accolade.
But why did Mutanda start on the bench in the first place? Sc Villa is increasingly looking like a team that is poorly coached even when they managed to pick a draw or two, a win in some instances in the second round of the season they have flattered to deceive.
One can barely figure out just by watching what the team’s game plan is or what brand of football is trying to be built at the club
I honestly think SC Villa did not even have to be in such a position, they could have survived the drop even before these 3 remaining match days but they pressed the self destruct button quite early.
SC Villa started the season with barely a team to speak of, after squabbles in the administration and the exit of Ben Misagga, Villa put up an interim committee that had close to 1 month to set up a team to compete in Uganda’s elite league.
Moses Basena was tasked with the task of keeping the ship afloat but he was also pushed overboard after the first 15 games.
Enter Douglas Bamweyana, a young, no-nonsense coach given 13 new signings who almost immediately put a smile on the faces of the Jogoos with a morale boosting win against rivals Vipers away from home. But with results not coming their way after that, his popularity has diminished among the Villa faithful with fans now almost always calling for his head at home games.
Football pundit and Vipers public relations manager Abdul Wasike while speaking during the sport daily sports show on Sanyuka TV wondered how Villa got in this position in the first place.
“Where is the football that SC Villa showcased when they beat us at Kitende, what happened?”
Bamweyana’s blatant failure to find his preferred starting 11 has also not helped as he has now come to be known as the tinker man.
Villa isn’t the only historical team to face the relegation monster with Express having to survive on that last day of last season.
Much as I think SC Villa cannot get relegated, it is also important to note that relegation is actual and that the historical Ugandan clubs can indeed get relegated if the mathematics dictates so.
The writer is a Uganda sports journalist and commentator of the Startimes Uganda premier league.