- Soccer. But the Jogoos home run comes under stern test today from their fellow title challengers Vipers, who are looking only for their third piece of silverware.
TODAY’S AUPL FIXTURES
SC Villa vs. Vipers SC – Masaka Recreation Ground, 4pm (Live on Azam TV 1)
Express vs. UPDF– Muteesa II Stadium,
Proline vs. Police– StarTimes Stadium,
Onduparaka vs. KCCA– Green Light Stadium, Arua 4:30pm
KAMPALA. One of the three Azam Uganda Premier League (AUPL) title challengers will cede ground in the race, unless both fail to establish the difference in their respective matches in Masaka and Arua.
And with seven to eight matches left to wrap up the campaign, all three will not fancy a blink, with KCCA away to Onduparaka and table leaders SC Villa at home to third-placed Vipers.
A huge relegation battle involving six-time league champions Express and UPDF will also ensue at Wankulukuku, with the Red Eagles having a chance to move out of the drop zone if they see off the rather solid soldiers.
Second from bottom, Mujib Kasule’s Proline know that failure to beat mid-table Police will only further diminish their slim hopes of staying up.
But the major action of the day will inevitably be in Masaka, where first meets third. Villa, top on 49 points - five and six above KCCA and Vipers, are yet to lose a match at home. That is the challenge Vipers, who won the first round tie 1-0, arrive to.
Villa coach Wasswa Bbosa has always insisted “We are playing and counting one match a time.” But there is some aura around the Jogoos, who are looking for their first league title since 2004, that this year could be it. Bbosa’s assistant Paul Mukatabala, kind of, scents it.
“The belief in our camp is immense that we can do it,” said Mukatabala, “We get a victory tomorrow (today) and it will be one big step towards the trophy. “A high stakes game that will inflame tensions both on and off the pitch. But our message to our boys is to keep calm and believe in our abilities that we will get a positive result.”
A former Villa midfielder, Mukatabala added: “All our boys are set and you can see it in their eyes as they train and walk around the team hotel.”
Attention to detail
In Vipers ranks, Villa come up against old boy and midfielder Taddeo Lwanga, who equally understands what is at stake for both teams.
“We are preparing in the best way we can,” said Lwanga, “We know about Martin Kizza as their top scorer but they have a lot of difficult players to face and we must pay a lot of attention to them.
“So we are preparing for a tough match, an important match for both of us. We understand everything. We know the strength of our rival and we will try to fight on the field until the end.”
Daniel ‘Mzee’ Sserunkuma, Milton Karisa and Erisa Ssekisambu will be charged with finishing whatever Frank Tumwebaze and Lwanga fashion in the middle for Vipers.
On the other hand, Nicholas Kasozi Allan Kyambadde and Villa star man Kizza will want to make a strong statement against a direct rival.
Villa - Vipers head-to-head
Villa wins: 5
Vipers wins: 10
Goals for (Vipers): 27
Goals against (Vipers): 32
TABLE STANDINGS - AUPL
Team P W D L F A Pts
SC Villa 23 15 6 2 25 8 49
KCCA 22 12 8 2 34 10 44
Vipers SC 22 12 7 3 28 14 43
Kirinya Jinja 24 11 5 8 24 20 37
Onduparaka 24 10 7 7 19 15 37
Maroons 24 6 15 3 16 15 33
Police 24 9 5 10 26 27 32
URA 24 8 6 10 20 18 30
BUL 23 8 5 10 16 22 29
Soana 24 7 7 10 16 28 28
Bright Stars 23 5 12 6 18 20 27
UPDF 24 6 7 11 19 30 25
Mbarara City 23 4 11 8 11 18 23
Express 23 6 4 13 19 22 22
Proline 23 5 5 13 18 24 20
Masavu 24 4 8 12 14 35 20 NOTE:
*Docked: 2 Goals, 2 Points (SC Villa) & 1 Goal, 1 Point (Kirinya Jinja SSS FC)