Desire for redemption has driven Mbowa’s Bright Stars

Friday June 25 2021

Workload. Police’s Tony Kiwalazi (L) and Muhamud Hassan (R) size down Bright Stars’ dangerman Ssekamatte in a UPL tie this season. PHOTO | JOHN BATANUDDE

By Denis Bbosa

Soltilo Bright Stars’ well-above-the-expectations performance in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League thus far is a dreamlike fairytale.

Two victories have stood out as Baker Mbowa’s side defied the odds to sit fifth on the league table - Express and KCCA.

In their 2-1 league conquest over Express at Kavumba on April 20, Bright Stars were displaying bravado against shoo-in title favourites.

While their 2-0 away victory against fourth placed KCCA nine days later, exuded they had less fear for anyone.

Hungry for more

“The magic bullet is my players listening to instruction and having an insatiable hunger for success.


“Add that to the gifted technical team (comprising Simon Peter Mugerwa and Ian Mutenda) and you have a well-balanced team able to achieve more,” Mbowa says.

The youthful tactician says the seamless gelling of young players and tested stars like 12-goal hero Samuel Kayongo Ssekamatte has given his team a facet many are yet to comprehend.

“I told them they are all national team material.

“If they play their best football and that has reawakened the fighting spirit that saw two players (Simon Tamale and Joseph Akandwanaho) called up to the national team - Uganda Cranes that played South Africa in a friendly match,” the coach adds.

Bright Stars have won 11 matches, drawn nine and lost seven as Mbowa’s side experimented with 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 diamond formations.  

The results were a clean break from last season’s struggles when they finished 12th on 29 points, just five above the relegation places.

Prolific Ssekamatte

“I learned a new game approach and gained valuable experience having played in Zambia (Red Arrows) and South Sudan (Malakia FC) which has helped me at Bright Stars this season,” Ssekamatte revealed.

His well punctuated goals have been majorly assisted by fellow forwards like Joseph Janjali and Akandwanaho.

“I had a target of 15 goals at the start of the season and I believe I will achieve that in the next four games.

“The coach finally got me playing my ideal position - closer to the goal and doing less defensive duties - which has increased my productivity,” the former KCCA and SC Victoria University burly forward said.

“We aim to collect 12 points from the remaining games and hope to finish in a better position,” he added. That target is on hold as the government imposed a 42-day lockdown.