Express FC legend Issa Ssekatawa has voiced his worries over the club’s shaky start to their title defence, and called upon the players to once again search for the hunger they had last season to avoid making a mockery of their title defence.
The Red Eagles won their seventh league title in history and first in close to a decade after a dominant performance last season, winning 17 and losing only two of their 26 league games.
They followed up their league title with success at the CECAFA Kagame Cup – the club’s first regional crown – and also reached the semi-final of the Uganda Cup.
But Express has made a mess of their title defence, losing their opening two games of the season with the narrow 1-0 victory over BUL Bidco on Saturday restoring a bit of sanity at Wankulukuku.
A rift between club head coach Wasswa Bbosa and Chief Executive Officer Isaac Mwesigwa has also outlined a troublesome start to the season.
Bbosa is still serving a three-match suspension for attributing their opening day defeat against Arua Hill to Mwesigwa working behind his back to influence results against the club.
However, despite Ssekatawa suggesting that the off filed chaos has added to the disruptions in performance, he believes the players have performed below the standards they set last season.
“The bickering within the bosses have not helped the situation and have affected the team’s performance,” Ssekatawa said.
However, I think after winning the league last season, the players let a bit of complacence creep in and felt like world beaters yet they were not yet at that level,” he added.
Nicknamed ‘Golden Boy’ and ‘Soccer Taboo’ by the adoring Red Army, Ssekatawa won two golden boots for the club in 1981 and 1982, going on to claim that ‘Goals are my business’.
While Ssekatawa’s time at Express did not yield a league title, he was part of the Uganda Cup winning side of 1985, and has advised the players to make ‘winning a habit’ and not ‘a one-time thing’.
“Winning is never a moment. It is not a one-time thing. Winning has to be a habit and they (Express) must develop that habit if they are to become great players like their talents demand,” he stated.
“The club needs to re-find their confidence and the hunger that they had last season because I believe they have the quality to win again.”
“They have tested the sweat fruits of success which should be a major driver for them to challenge once again,” Ssekatawa continued.
Express currently lies 10th on the StarTimes Uganda Premier League table, already six points off the leaders KCCA FC after three only three games.
They will hope that their victory against BUL can spark them back to life and will want to remind their challengers of their quality if they can claim a victory over high flying Vipers SC who visit the Betway Muteesa II Stadium on Saturday, October 30.