In truth, this January Uganda Premier League transfer window has been very low key with many of the promising rumours failing to turn into reality.
By far, the major standout transfer deals can be traced at Vipers that dug in their heels to lure Paul Mucureezi from Mbarara City and have brought back forward Milton Karisa from Morocco.
You need to understand the workings of the Uganda transfer system to comprehend why despite the deadline elapsing on January 31, there is still hope for some clubs to beef up their squads.
“We use the Fifa Connect System where by every club files in the information of the players they intend to buy by January 31. At Fufa, our role is to process and verify the information before licenses are ushered out,” Fufa Competitions Director Aisha Nalule elucidated.
“The verifying is still on for some players but soon we will be done. At times we are held back by clubs that deliberately send in unfinished papers as they negotiate with the player to beat the submission deadline while other times the players’ cases are still sorted by the Status Committee as it is with most of the Tooro United players,” she adds.
Muted silence at KCCA, Villa
Two clubs that used to dominate the market believe they did most of their shopping early in the season. Even when they lost mercurial midfielder Allan Okello to Algerian side Paradou, KCCA manager Mike Mutebi gallantly turned to re-signing youngster Moses Aliro from Doves All-stars to fill the void. At Villa, talk was rife that they were tying down experienced Uganda Cranes defender Dennis Guma until they confirmed the acquisition of Fred Agandu, formerly with Onduparaka.
Relegation candidates startlingly quiet
With the noose over their heads, one would expect relegation threatened clubs Proline, Tooro United, Police and Kyetume to be on the lookout for fresh blood. whereas Kyetume ensnared free agent Ali Feni, Police and Proline stayed put. Tooro United brought in Eddy Kapampa, James Kasibante, Faisal Ssekyanzi, Nicholas Kagaba and Ronald Orombi to aid their survival bid.
Vipers lead the way
On paper, Mucureezi’s switch to UPL leaders Vipers would arguably be the biggest deal of the January transfers going by his accomplishments at KCCA and Uganda Cranes local based team. He announced his arrival with a goal in his debut match but is still taking time to fit in - blame it largely on the impromptu managerial change. Whereas many believe Vipers were already good enough even without Karisa, you can’t downplay the humongous change this marquee signing will bring.
On and off Wakiso Giants added Onduparaka trio Faizal Ibrahim, Gerega Atendere and Gadafi Wahabu to their repertoire. Similarly, troubled Bul signed Dud Ramathan and Vitalis Tabu from the Caterpillars plus Fredric Kigozi to halt their free-fall. Maroons coach Douglas Bamweyana reunited with midfielder David Ndihabwe while Express has been granted the rights to use winger Baker Lukooya. After losing forwards Joel Madondo and Boban Zirintusa in January, Busoga coach Abbey Kikomeko has turned to youngster Sharif Kimbowa for goals. At Kavumba, Bright Stars surge up the table has been bolstered by the arrival of experienced Bernard Muwanga and Muwadda Mawejje.
Alitho departure concern at URA
By press time, URA hadn’t unveiled former Kajjansi United custodian Michael Kagiri as Zambia-bound James Alitho’s replacement despite training with the club for a couple of days now. Club coach Sam Ssimbwa recruited over 14 players at the start of the season but that didn’t stop the rumour mill going around that the tax collectors were eager to add defender Ivan Bukenya on board.