Firing StarTimes Uganda Premier League (SUPL) front-runners, Vipers SC, looked the part as they toyed with Proline 4-2 on Tuesday. Will they repeat that form against SC Villa when the pair clash at St Mary’s Stadium today, and make their title ambitions even clearer?
Vipers’ calculated and relentless march to what would be their fourth league title shows little sign of slowing down.
The Venoms have lost only one match in 17 outings, and lead second-placed KCCA with seven points after winning their two opening second round games.
That is a sharp contrast with their opponents today. Coach Edward Kaziba’s Villa have lost theirs, falling 2-0 and 1-0 to URA and Busoga United. But they will be encouraged by history from recent matches between the two.
Last season’s 3-1 surprise win at Kitende, when Villa decided to wake up in this one, should also concern Vipers. “We are going to Kitende on the back of two losses but we have told the boys that we should get back to winning ways starting with victory over Vipers, which we believe is possible,” Villa deputy coach Ibrahim Kirya told Daily Monitor yesterday.
“Our major problem this campaign has been scoring goals and that is what we are working on most ahead of the Vipers match.”
Bashir Mutanda is likely to start for Villa, who will hope Ambrose Kirya and company get back into their element today. But they are still without injured left-back Yayo Lutimba, a former Venom. Vipers are known to alter playing style depending on the opponents. Unconvincing in the 1-0 victory over Kyetume, they turned on the style in the victory over Proline.
“Villa is a good side,” said Vipers coach Edward Golola, “So we respect them. But I have told my boys that every game which comes their way is our final.”
Golola believes that Vipers are not a finished article yet. “We are not converting enough of our chances in home games.
“I expect SC Villa to have looked at our recent games and will be a very organised side coming at St Mary’s Stadium.”
Villa, like Express, have struggled defensively all season. They will have to be at their best to stop brace heroes against Proline, Fahad Bayo and Denis Mwemezi, as well as new boy Paul Mucureezi.
Vipers will, however, miss the services of goalkeeper Fabien Mutombora, defender Halid Lwaliwa and midfielder Siraje Sentamu.
KCCA coach Mike Mutebi will be eager to return to winning ways when his side welcome Tooro United to Lugogo.
He will miss Allan Okello, away in Algeria to complete his move to Paradou AC, and Mustafa Kizza, who had also travelled to Morocco before his move to Agadir fell through. New Tooro United coach Muhammed Kisekka decried the licence problems and the absence of 18 first team players that forced them to play six youth players in the 1-1 draw with Kyetume.
“The fact that KCCA is home and wounded makes me think they will come hungry and angry at us and hopefully we can deal with the situation.”