Is the StarTimes Uganda Premier League exciting or still drab? Well, don’t even bother figuring out the thrills, chills and spills of the league because come October 29 when the 2020/21 season kicks off, there is sure to be excitement.
Why? Because it has been so long since the league has evoked anticipation like now – thanks to the return home of midfield dynamo Tonny Mawejje and Denis Iguma, who can play virtually anywhere on the pitch.
The StarTimes Uganda Premier League (SUPL) welcomes two of the country’s own ahead of the 2020/21 season, with domestic fans expecting more spark when the campaign kicks off in October.
Local transfers have happened since the window opened, but few – if any – have evoked anticipation like the return home of respected midfielder Tonny Mawejje, and versatile Denis Iguma.
“Iguma joining us is a good thing,” said his new coach Mike Mutebi, after the player penned a two-year contract at KCCA, “His vast experience in football will benefit the team.
“I believe his partnership with Musa Ramathan will be exceptional. He is going to help us win trophies next season.”
Mutebi was speaking on the club’s weekly TV show on Sunday night after the Ugandan international player’s unveiling.
Iguma’s arrival, following a long-term injury that saw him face the knife and miss the 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt, comes shortly after Police also signed Mawejje, who has – for the last decade – played his football abroad.
Colour and experience
This is what Mawejje’s new coach at Police, Abdallah Mubiru, had to say. “He obviously adds experience to the team but he is also very competitive which I expect will rub off on the rest of the team.”
Mawejje, 33, rejoined Police after 13 years of globe-trotting during which he played for eight other clubs. Being virtually retired means his work is cut out for the club and, therefore, the league.
Tom Damulira, a former columnist with Daily Monitor’s local dialect sports weekly newspaper, Ennyanda, and a man who has followed domestic football for eternity, believes that while the two may not be instant crowd pullers, they bring something to spur the fans.
“The first thing that stands out is their experience,” Damulira, also a KCCA fan, agreed with Mubiru.
“Question now is; what can youngsters learn from them? We are talking about time management, patience.
“Of course, I don’t expect Mawejje to do things he did 5-10 years ago, but how does he help those around him? And in the long run, the players that improve because Mawejje and Iguma are around them can maybe bring more fans.”
Journalist John Vianney Nsimbe has covered local football for well over a decade. “Their arrival adds colour to the league,” he reasoned, “So many people loved watching Mawejje in Cranes colours.
“They would want to see how he impacts the game at Police now. Iguma, on the other hand is one player, who was at the Afcon in 2017. He is in his prime now, which should add leadership and strength to KCCA. He also comes with a lot of experience.”
And Iguma is up for the challenge. “I am happy to be a KCCA player. With my experience, I have to be an example to some of the players on and off the pitch. I am very excited to play.
“KCCA FC is a big team. The fans should expect the best from me. I feel comfortable when I play in central-defense, midfield, and left-back positions.”
The 27-year-old worked with Mutebi at Villa in 2012 before he signed for Victoria University, who were playing in the second tier by that time.
Iguma helped Uganda qualify for last year’s Afcon finals but unfortunately the 26-year-old missed it through a terrible knee injury.
He has not played competitive football in close to two years, with his last national team action coming in the goalless friendly against Nigeria in November 2018.
Tony Mawejje, midfielder
The 33-year-old played for KCCA, Police & URA locally before going pro with ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar, Golden Arrows, Haugesund, Valur, Próttur, Tirana, & Al-Arabi
Denis Iguma, versatile
The 27-year-old Ugandan international has played for Villa, Victoria University, Al Ahed & Bekka (Lebanon) & Kazma (Kuwait)