Mwebaze's Bright Stars renaissance faces KCCA test

Champions Bul will travel to Kavumba to face Police in the last eight. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Vipers coach Alex Isabirye's desperate bid to win a trophy with new employers got smoother on paper with a date against minnows Calvary at the St Mary's Stadium-Kitende.

Soltilo Bright Stars coach Asaph Mwebaze appears to be ticking most boxes many pundits anticipated when he was named boss back in July last year.

The club management went out of their comfort in search of a manager with a recognisable playing style, ability to improve young and aged players, an impressive track record and personal principles - and in hindsight, fittingly chose Mwebaze. 

The Kavumba based side no longer flirts with relegation but now comfortably sit seventh on the Startimes Uganda Premier League table with 24 points from 17 matches - their latest 1-0 loss to UPDF notwithstanding. 

"I'm happy the team is responding well to my instructions and plans and I still demand more from them because they have enormous potential and most of them are still young," Mwebaze, a former coach at Maroons, Onduparaka and Nyamitobora, told Daily Monitor

Yet it is in the Stanibc Uganda Cup that his side has been more ruthless, scoring goals for fun and threatening to push to another final like it was in the case in 2019.

They have walloped Moroto based non-league side Nakapelimen 8-0, Kiyinda Boys 4-0 and Mbale Heroes (won via spotkicks after 1-all draw) to set up a mouthwatering quarter final clash with ten-time winners KCCA at Kavumba next month. 

For starters, Bright Stars ejected KCCA 1-0 at the same stage last season with Marvin Youngman scoring the lone goal at the MTN Omondi Stadium-Lugogo.

To add salt to Injury, Mwebaze's Stars inflicted a 1-0 defeat on KCCA in the league first round match at Kavumba back in December. A revenge mission for Morley Byekwaso's KCCA can't get any bigger. 

From the outside looking in, the biggest difference Mwebaze has made at Kavumba is to let his boys freely express themselves on the pitch, polish their potency in front of goal and extend fear to no opponent.

As thus, players like Ibrahim Kasinde, Emmanuel Loki, Nelson Ssenkatuuka and Cleophas Fiat are taking turns to lift the team to lofty heights this season. 

Many managers would play down the chances of an unfancied side like Bright Stars having a shot at winning the Uganda Cup, not Mwebaze.

"We shall give our best and do better in the league," he said.

Vipers, Bul kept apart

Vipers coach Alex Isabirye's desperate bid to win a trophy with new employers got smoother on paper with a date against minnows Calvary at the St Mary's Stadium-Kitende. 

Although Calvary eliminated  Sam Ssimbwa's Kitara at the round of 16, the Fufa Big League team's chances will be minimal against the Venoms that luckily overcame Wakiso Giants last week and seem rejuvenated under Isabirye. 

Holders Bul, now under the tutelage of Simeone Masaba who started off with ejecting Onduparaka last Wednesday, will take their retention campaign to Police at Kavumba after Angello Lonyesi's Cops ousted Ndejje University on Monday.

James Odoch's Express will hope that their league struggles don't follow them to Adjumani when they visit Adjumani TC with sights on adding on their ten Uganda Cup trophies.

According to Fufa Competitions Director Aisha Nalule, the quarterfinal ties of the 49th edition will take place between April 10-17 and in a case of draw,after 90 minutes an extra time session will be required before a spot kicks shootout if the result remains intact. 

Stanbic Uganda Cup

Quarterfinal fixtures

Soltilo Bright Stars vs. KCCA
Vipers vs. Calvary
Police vs. Bul
Adjumani TC vs. Express

To be played between April 10-17