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Ikara or Ochan? The goalkeeping dilemma Mubiru happy to face at Police

By Shafic Kiyaga

Abdallah Mubiru will need to make a decision when it comes to his goalkeepers next season, but the Police FC head coach believes the goalkeeping situation is a good problem for the club.

Mubiru faces arguably the biggest selection dilemma in the Uganda Premier League as he needs to decide on who starts in goal between goalkeepers Tom Ikara and Derrick Ochan.

The Cops shipped in a mind boggling 37 goals – the fourth highest tally in the division last season, with Mubiru’s side struggling to shut out opponents.

Mubiru who agreed a three-year contract extension with the Cops in May has set about improving the club’s fortunes in the new season, with defence an area he earmarked to have significant improvement.

Mubiru and Police have chased Ikara and Ochan previously. They came close to signing Ikara in 2017 before he was swayed by KCCA.

The Cops also chased Ochan in January, and while they agreed terms with the player over a short-term loan deal, Vipers eventually refused to sanction the move.  

While Mubiru has the liberty of working with them next season, the bigger question lies on who takes the number one spot.

“We are not in any dilemma and I don’t expect us to have selection headache over who starts in goal. Their recruitment was not abrupt to us, we recruited them both on purpose,” Mubiru exclusively told Football256.

“We know both goalkeepers’ potential, what they can offer us and how they can improve us. They know what their responsibility is and what role they shall play.”

“Every one of them knows what they are expected to do. So, I don’t expect to have any dilemma in the goalkeeping department,”

He added: “Besides it is every coach’s preference to have a decision to make on who plays when. But it hurts to be compelled to select a player automatically even when he is not up to the task.”

“They are both very good goalkeepers and it is our obligation to work with them and improve them, and of course the best choice according to the situation will play,” he said.

Ikara comes in with a better statistical report compared to Ochan, but the latter has proven to be a worthy back up to Fabien Mutombora during his time at St. Mary’s Stadium.

Ikara kept 10 clean sheets in 19 league games last season, with a 76% save percentage on shots faced on target. In contrast (per Ddiba Stats), Ochan sought an exit from Vipers in search of regular playing time. He was reduced to just three league games last season.

A promise of more playing time must have persuaded him to join the Cops, but it will not come on a silver platter, but must prove especially with Ikara as competition. Sammon Oloka is expected to settle as back up.

There were awful and hideous goalkeeping errors that cost Police dearly last season, Hillary Jomi’s nightmarish error against Vipers the epitome of that.

Alfred Ginyera also had ghastly performance in his single appearance in the league last season, conceding five cheap goals against Express.

First choice goalkeeper Davis Mutebi’s performances were far from convincing as he kept only two clean sheets and conceded 23 goals in 20 games.

Howbeit, all the three goalkeepers have since moved on from the club, with Ikara, Ochan and Oloka joining the club in the transfer window.

Ikara and Ochan are both massive additions and present significant improvement to the options that were available last season. But Mubiru must sit with his goalkeeping coach Richard Kansole and take a decision.

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