January 24, 2022

UPL’s safest hands so far

By Baron Kironde
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KCCA FC skipper and goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan poses with the Pilsner man of the match award after his team's 3-0 win over Wakiso Giants in Wakiso / Wakiso Giants Image

In the modern game of football, the goalkeeper’s role has been converted from merely stopping shots to getting involved with the team’s possession in building up from the back.

For the most basic definition of a goalkeeper, however, and what they are supposed to do, is to guard the team’s goalposts, that is the custodian’s primary role.

However poor the goalie is bad at passing and or even anything else like scoring, he is still very good if he can man his goal area well – that is well enough to see that the opposing team does not score.

The goalkeeper is the last line of defence, his job, hard to do but simple to describe, is logically to keep a clean sheet, so his hands must be safe, and the gloves magnetic with a golden touch.

For 21 times in the UPL this season, a team has failed to score a single goal against the other, and that should rightfully be attributed to the collective work of 13 goalkeepers altogether.

Six of the 13 custodians have so far commanded more than one clean sheet for their respective clubs, two of those have combined for six alone; three each, and the other four have managed two apiece.

The other seven goalkeepers have managed at least one clean sheet each as the full list comprises of goalkeepers from KCCA, Vipers, Arua Hill, Onduparaka, Wakiso Giants, BUL, Busoga, Tooro, UPDF, Express, Villa, Gadaffi, and UPDF.

KCCA FC and Vipers SC first choice goalkeepers Benjamin Ochan and Fabien Mutombora have respectively simply proved why they should start in goal ahead of everyone at their clubs.

From the first four games of the season, Ochan and Mutombora each have three clean sheets to the good, the most so far, and what is even better? Their respective teams claimed maximum points in those particular matches that could turn so vital in the league title hunt.

In KCCA’s opening match of the season played away to Wakiso Giants on October, 17, Benjamin Ochan put up a man of the match performance as the Kasasiro Boys won by three goals to nil.

After Wakiso, Ochan also managed to concede no goal at all as KCCA claimed three points in their 1-0 away win from Jinja against Busoga, and the 2-0 win against Tooro at Lugogo.

Until Vipers’ third game against Express at Wankulukuku, the Venoms had not conceded at home and away with Fabien Mutombora in goal.

For the opening two games, the Burundi-born let in no goal as his side beat Police 2-0 at Lugogo before walloping Wakiso Giants 5-0 at Kitende.

In Vipers’ last league game, he kept a clean sheet as the Venoms defended Halid Lwaliwa’s lone goal of their match against Onduparaka at Kitende to take all the three points on November, 2.

Amongst the four goalkeepers who have kept exactly two clean sheets so far is Arua Hills’ Richard Anyama who has been remarkable in two very important games for Arua Hill so far.

Anyama conceded none as Express let in two in the Arua-based side’s debut UPL game at Wankulukuku on October 15, and he also kept a clean sheet in the 0-0 West Nile derby against Onduparaka.

Michael Kagiri was the man guarding Onduparaka’s goalposts as the Caterpillars avoided defeat without conceding against noisy neighbours Arua Hill at the Barifa Stadium in Arua. He also kept a clean sheet as Onduparaka won 1-0 away at Kavumba to Bright Stars.

Derrick Emukule was in goal for Wakiso Giants as they won 1-0 against Police at Lugogo, and drew 0-0 with Gadaffi in Jinja.

Saidi Keni, after crossing over from Villa to BUL has so far registered two clean sheets with BUL, the first in the 2-0 win over Onduparaka in Arua, and the 1-0 win against Mbarara City at home in Jinja.

The other goalkeepers who have kept at least a clean sheet in the UPL so far are up to seven, including Busoga’s Michael Nantamu as Busoga United won 2-0 away to Gaddafi, and Swaibu Mawuya who kept a clean sheet as Tooro beat Mbarara City 1-0.

UPDF’s Brian Bwete scooped the man of the match accolade at Bombo Barracks for guarding his goal area, commendably as the army side defeated Express 1-0.

Joel Mutakubwa has also managed one shutout for Express, and that came in the Red Eagles’ away win against BUL FC in Jinja.

Meddie Kibirige conceded zero as his Villa scored just one to beat Police FC, whereas UPDF’s Yusuf Wasswa also kept a clean sheet as UPDF defeated Mbarara 1-0 at Bombo Military Barracks.

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