Double firmly in sight for NEC

NEC head coach Hussein Mbalangu. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

NEC face a disillusioned URA side

Unfancied NEC and Kitara have emphatically watered down the notion that the league and cup double talk is an all-elite domination.

In an unprecedented show of bravado and intent, the two new entrants are bossing matters in the StarTimes Uganda Premier league and joined Bul and Pajole in the Stanbic Uganda Cup semifinals.

Brian Ssenyondo's Kitara that ejected holders Vipers from the Uganda Cup on Sunday, top the table with 44 points from 23 matches while Hussein Mbalangu's Soldiers are four points adrift in fifth slot.

Victory over troubled URA today at the Kabaka Kyabaggu Stadium-Wakiso will hurl NEC level on 43 points with second-placed Bul and give credence to their optimism in their fairytale maiden season in the top flight division.

Mbalangu's side exuded resolve in their 1-0 triumph over Kitara at the MTN Philip Omondi Stadium, Lugogo and tickled doubters into believing that they have what it takes to punch above their weight.

Hard to break down, quick on the counterattack and embracing combatant style, NEC have amassed 12 wins thus far - one less than Kitara, although Mbalangu still has to increase on their 31-goal tally and conceding rate (28 goals) if they are to sustain a seriou title challenge. 

The attacking prowess of nine-goal hero Cromwell Rwothomio and flying wing-back Josseph Data (six goals) has offered NEC an aura of invincibility and carried the team against league heavyweights like KCCA and SC Villa.

NEC face a disillusioned URA side occupying the ninth spot with 31 points from 23 matches that is wallowing from a managerial change that had inept David Obua replaced by his hirthetho assistants Robert Mukasa, Ilic Milosh, Allan Owiny and Robert Ssentongo.

URA are not only bogged by a coaching dilemma and disenchanted playing staff but also a stadium mess that has seen them swap three hosting venues this season - Mehta-Lugazi, Lugogo and now the Kabaka Kyabaggu Stadium-Wakiso.

Like Kitara, NEC has thrived on the indefatigable contribution of experienced players like Ambrose Kirya, Marvin Kavuma, Benjamin Ochan, Gaddafi Wahab, Rashid Okocha and Allan Mugalu under the tutelage of Mbalangu, a former SC Villa and Uganda Cranes burly forward.

At the Bombo Military Barracks Ground, a fierce relegation dogfight between hosts UPDF and armed brothers Gaddafi will ensue today as the season draws to a close. 
Paul Kiwanuka's UPDF, second-from-bottom with 16 points from 22 matches, will tussle it out with immediate table neighbours northwards Gaddafi that have 18 points from the same number of games and have reportedly hired journey-man coach Livingstone Mbabazi to fend off the looming chop.

StarTimes Uganda Premier League

Tuesday, 4pm

UPDF vs. Gaddafi, Bombo
URA vs. NEC, Wakiso