Soccer

Strikers will keep Water FC ‘afloat’

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Water FC coach Ayiekoh talks to his players during a practice session

TACTICS: Water FC coach Ayiekoh talks to his players during a practice session. PHOTO: ISAAC KASAMANI 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

Posted  Tuesday, August 2   2011 at  00:00
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UGANDA SUPER LEAGUE

Lugogo

September 9
Bidco v Water

Like any other team that’s just got promoted from the lower division, Water Football Club will inevitably make the pundits’ lists of favourites to go down. But the team that were founded in 1994 as Water FC, then Maji FC, before coming back to Water FC in September 2010, will not be pushovers if coach Charles Ayiekoh’s words are anything to go by.

Especially claiming he has the most lethal striking force he so much trusts he can bet his job. “For striking,” said Ayiekoh, clad in blue shorts and a T-shirt at the team’s pre-season training at Lugogo, last Thursday, “I’m very confident of us in that position.”

The former Bunnamwaya coach added: “I trust my strikers and they will take us where we want to be. “Of course the first thing for us is to survive. But it’s not only to survive. It will be great if we finish in the top 10.”

Decent preps
Indeed in a bid to achieve that mission, Water - 100 percent bankrolled by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation – have not been left behind by the seasoned campaigners in pre-season preparations. The Big League champions enter their fourth week of ball work at the Lugogo upper pitch, having done gym for four days at Nakivubo and threatened to run Muyenga Tank Hill even.

The strikers having Ayiekoh talk big of their credentials include among others Julius Ogunde, who scored a hat-trick against Hoima in the Big League final, and the club’s longest serving player and last season’s top scorer with five, Asad Makibwe. “I have seven strikers. In the event one is unable to play for some reason, any one that comes on is an able replacement,” said Ayiekoh as his team played a friendly against Ntinda select at Lugogo.

The team will do swimming concurrently with ball work as they continue the build up to the 2011/2012 Uganda Super League season. The reality that a good number of games will be telecast live on SuperSport has had every club up their game, most investing in pre-season tours outside the country.

Rwanda tour
Water have not been an exception. NSWC will facilitate the trip to Rwanda on a date yet to be confirmed this month by hosts Rayon Sport, according to Ayiekoh. The new comers open against fellow fresh entrants Bidco on September 9 at Kakindu, Jinja in an anticipated thriller. Both freshers will not want to cede territory this early, especially against a direct relegation rival.

And Ayiekoh has his worries. “While I trust my strikers to take us where we want to be, the defence and goalkeeping were a major discomfort in the Big League. “But I hope the defenders we have brought in, together with the keeper, will solve that.”

Water have merged youth with experience in strengthening for the survival warfare. While they have lost Patrick Ssenfuka to SC Villa, they have brought in Emmanuel Balyejusa (B. Nankyama), Brian Ochwo (Sharing) and Bernard Ouma (Busia).

Others are goalkeeper Didi Mohammed (Bidco), Jacob Otunga (Boroboro), Sam Ssenoga (URA), Joseph Bukenya (free agent), Yusuf Najib (Fire Masters). “We shall take it step by step,” said Ayiekoh, who is impressed at how their mother body, NWSC, have provided the necessary resources.

Water have registered Maroons’ Luzira Stadium as a home ground while they will be training from Naguru’s Lugogo upper pitch. They indeed will have to open up the Waters and swallow whoever comes, choking on a few notwithstanding, if they are to calm the storm.