Bright Stars seek new direction after 2019/2020 relegation flirt

Sunday November 29 2020

Men To Watch. Kachancu (L) and Janjali (R), in yellow, have what it takes to make Bright Stars shine. PHOTOS/JOHN BATAUDDE

By Elvis Senono

Bright Stars set out to change their image when Honda Estilo Co Ltd bought a controlling stake in the Uganda Premier League side at the start of the 2017/2018 season.

After five years of stability having earned topflight league promotion in time for the 2013/2014 season, the club sought a change in approach.

Coach Fred Kajoba who had been in charge for the majority of that period was then tasked to play an attractive brand of football in addition to recruiting younger players with resale value.

But known for his pragmatic approach and win at all costs mentality, Kajoba was unable to deliver the desired approach and had his contract terminated at the end of the 2018/2019 season.

This was despite the club finishing with 42 points and an eighth placed finish, their highest ever position since being promoted. The club also reached a the final of the Uganda Cup before losing on penalties to then Big League side Proline. The result alongside a perceived lack of respect towards his bosses saw relieved of his duties.

By then, captain and start forward Nelson Senkatuka had already jumped ship on the back of a 16-goal return in the league. Muhammad Kisekka and Simon Peter Mugerwa, two coaches who had risen to prominence working with and recommending young upcoming players to many top division sides were then handed the reigns at the start of the 2019/2020 season.


Relieved of duties
A run of one win, six draws and seven losses in a sequence of 14 games however saw Kisekka relieved of his duties with Paul Kiwanuka, Kajoba’s hitherto assistant trusted to steady the ship.

He did so in impressive fashion, presiding over six wins and two draws in 10 second-round league games before the league was called off after 25 games.

But in an interesting turn of events Kiwanuka jumped ship opting for a reunion with his former boss Kajoba at league champions Vipers.

Another key player Enoch Walusimbi also left for Express while Moses Okot and Simon Tamale also departed. The club has since turned to Baker Mbowa another coach who was previously mainly charge of the youth teams at Proline before taking charge of the senior team until their relegation last season.

He retains the majority of players who served well and the previous two coaches with versatile captain Sula Ssebunza and defender Andrew Kaggwa one of the longest-serving players in the top division.

A fully fit Augustine Kachancu will also be key to their fortunes having missed large chunks of the previous season through injury.

His good passing range, physical presence and an eye for goal from midfield was especially missed in the first round.  His would be midfield partner Jamil Kaliisa also rejoined Kajoba but the club should be over the moon after retaining Joseph Janjali on a permanent basis.

The forward at last started showing the potential that made him a favourite in Masaza Cup competitions while working with assistant coach Mugerwa, emerging as the club’s top scorer last season with six goals.

Bright stars new signings 
Newbies:Marvin Joseph, Emmanuel Loki, Warren Buule, Simon Peter Ssemayange, Allan Katwe, Joseph Akandwanaho, Jamil Kisitu Nvule, Ibrahim Kasinde, Samuel Ssekamatte, Jonathan Odongo, Samson Mutyaba, Benson Wagima