Two things have been constant in Busoga United’s four-year history in the Uganda Premier League (UPL). Dianah Nyago and Abbey Kikomeko. Nyago is the vision bearer while Kikomeko has seen coaches come and go.
The club which started as Jinja SS before merging with Kirinya, a place renowned for its correctional facility before becoming Busoga United at the beginning of this season, has had a sample of topflight football for four years but it was this season that proved that they are now men.
Kikomeko, who has been there since the team was promoted in 2015, worked under Matthew Lucha, Alex Isabirye, Mark Twinamasiko and Charles Ayiekoh until this season when he was in charge with Fred Lumu and Frank Ssebaggala.
He guided the team to their best-ever finish, in fourth just behind champions Vipers, KCCA and SC Villa. “We performed better than we ever have before and the team are already talking about what we are going to do next year,” Kikomeko said in an interview. Looking back at a season during which they won 13 out 25 games, Busoga United were a motivated group with a newfound swagger.
“This year our team had a whole different mindset. We believed in ourselves like never before,” Kikomeko said from his rural home in Tororo where the quarantine found him.
The coronavirus pandemic, as it did to every league team dreaming of a bigger achievement this year, ended Busoga’s quest of a probably better finish when all football action was called off last week.
But Busoga United had overcome bigger obstacles. Joel Madondo had already moved to Morocco with Wydad Casablanca while Boban Zirintusa left for Zambia’s Green Buffaloes so was Isaac Isinde. Isma Mugulusi and Anthony Mayanja were dealt a blow with licensing hiccups.
But Busoga United was phenomenal in the goalkeeping department where Ali Kimera, a reject at Mbarara City, kept five clean sheets in nine games.
Shafiq Nana Kakeeto, goalkeeper Rogers Omedwa and David Bagoole were the outsiders of the school set-up, who spearheaded the team’s prolific season.
Everything looked in place with a united team that included both power and speed despite their obvious financial challenges. Kenneth Ssemakula, Lawrenze Tezikya, Jerome Kirya and returnee Ivan Wani were prolific. “Everyone worked so hard this season. We now have a good team to fight for the title next season,” said Kikomeko.
With high expectations to live up to next season, those who will return are excited for 2021.
“I spoke with our vice chairman (Sam Mugabi) and he told me next season we must get better. This has fired up the players and we shall take the chance with open arms. My players will be working hard to enjoy every moment,” concluded Kikomeko.