Express FC played their first game in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League on Tuesday and could only settle for a point against URA FC in the barren stalemate played at Wankulukuku.
This, was the first competitive game for not only the club’s new coach Kefa Kisala but also for Kiryowa Kiwanuka who replaced Hajji Hassan Bulwadda as a club chairman.
There were a lot of positives to take for the Red Eagles who struggled last season. However, there were points of concern both on and off the pitch at the same time.
ChimpSports’ Brian Kawalya analyses the events that happened at Muteesa II Stadium Wankulukuku on Tuesday;
1. Still Disorganized
The game was supposed to start at exactly 4:30 PM but kickoff was delayed after Referee William Oloya tasked the home team to provide security before the game could get underway.
FUFA competitions rule, article 27 on security stipulates that: “It shall be the duty of the home team to ensure that adequate security and
safety arrangements are made for the match crew and their property and that of the spectators.
“If the ground requires security protection to prevent spectators
from interfering with the game it shall be the duty of the home club to provide such security and if proved not provided, the referee shall not start the game,
the home club shall lose the match by forfeiture
The officiating team was very lenient with Express FC. They gave them all the time in this world to call the security men to come at Wankulukuku, all that happening minutes past Kickoff time.
In the mix of events, an Express FC official told the commissioner that the security officers were already among the fans,though not putting on uniform.
Some Express FC officials were suggesting the use of army men (who have camped in Wankulukuku for over a month ) to do the role, but all in vain.
Finally, after 31 minutes past the actual kickoff time, the security men arrived and the game was played. Consequently, the game was played for 80 minutes – Each half was played for 40 minutes.
Later one Chairman Kiryowa Kiwanuka cleared the air, exclusively telling this website: ” There was delayed deployment as there was a new procedure that has been introduced. We just have to start the clearance process earlier.”
2. Turn Up Did not Match the hype
The build up to this season has been positive for Express FC, getting things back to the right way.
Following last season’s struggles that saw the club languish in the relegation zone for the major part of the season, Express FC had made changes on and off the pitch ahead of the new campaign.
New coaching staff, new players, many sponsors and all that coupled with the Red Eagles not being in action on match day one, the thinking was Tuesday’s game would have huge numbers but it was not the case.
3. Tonny Kyamera To Solve Goalkeeping Woes
For the recent years, Express FC has been struggling to have a good shot-stopper. Godwin Bbuule and Emmanuel Opio did not have the best of time at Wankulukuku and with the free exit of players almost every other transfer window, all positions/ departments were affectdd
Kyamera lived in the shadows of Buule last season but there is no doubt about his potential. He was summoned for U20 national team duty and guided Buddo SS to the national post primary schools championship this year.
He stood strong in the posts, commanded his back line and made good reflexes to get a clean sheet in the first game this season.
Kyamera however needs guidance being a budding goalkeeper, he at times loses his head like it was the case last season when he absconded from training with no reason and was suspended by the club.
4. Kiryowa, the new sheriff in town
In Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Express FC have not only got a Club Chairman, but someone who loves the club to the bone, the fact that the founder of the club was his grand father.
Very passionate about football and sports in general.He could be heard shouting motivational words a distance from his VIP section. He clapped, shouted, sang along as Express FC attacked Ssimbwa’s URA.
Despite dropping two points at home, Kiwanuka was seen, together with veteran journalist and UNRA Spokesperson Mark Ssali, head to the pitch to talk to the players and coach. He then waved to the fans before departing.
The fans are contented. The club is surely in the right hands. A leader who is not afraid to air out his views.
5. A lot still needs to be done
Realistically, URA didn’t do enough on the day as they didn’t ask Express FC enough questions. URA Coach Sam Ssimbwa later on confessed that his side didn’t deserve a point.
After the game, Coach Kefa on the other hand was delighted with his team’s performance on the day. He congratulated the boys for their efforts.
We know that this is a new team with almost new players and not the best in terms of quality. Kisala will need enough time to assemble the pieces into one unit.
If the team can beef up with three or four good players in January, they will transform into contenders.