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Mutebi backs ‘young squad’ to prevail in predicted tight title race

By Shafic Kiyaga
KCCA FC players warm up before a league game | KCCA FC photo

KCCA FC head coach Mike Mutebi reckons that the purported lack of experience in his squad is overrated and has backed his youthful squad to have a comfortable challenge for the StarTimes Uganda Premier League title this season.

Speaking during his pre-match press conference ahead of their encounter with BUL Bidco FC at the Kyabazinga Stadium in Jinja, Mutebi said he expects the league title to be the closest it has been in recent years.

Mutebi presumes that up to eight teams will be involved in the title race this time round, unlike previous seasons where the contention has been mainly between his side and rivals Vipers SC.

The UPL has seen Vipers and KCCA set incredible standards sharing the last title in each of the last eight seasons since 2012.

The two were pushed all the way last season by Busoga United, URA and SC Villa, but nevertheless finished four points ahead of their challengers despite the season being cancelled with five games to play.

This season, newly promoted side UPDF FC, Police FC, URA FC, Express FC, and Kyetume FC have joined the front group. The top eight teams are separated by a mere four points.

While there is still a long way to go before the season climaxes, the table is already taking shape and another set of matchday action could once again exhibit the dynamic nature of the title race.

“It is going to be very competitive,” Mutebi told media before adding; “Eight clubs are going to try and win the league title this season.”

“But as KCCA, we are not focussing on others, we are going to perfect our act, try to play the way we want to play. Like I said, it will be tough with all those clubs staking their case for the title,” he mentioned.

KCCA are not prone to dropping as many points, but they have already dropped six points, losing back-to-back games in December for the first time under Mutebi since 2016.

And Mutebi has implored his players to return with a reaction as the league returns since December this weekend. “We need to have a reaction after our loss to URA,” Mutebi stated.  

“We have managed to re-organise ourselves, put a few things back in place which has helped some of our new players to gel better into the group, and those who have been injured return to fitness.”

“But we have to try and negotiate the fight that will be presented to present to us, it is not going to be an easy game (against BUL) they have always given us a couple of problems.”

“But I think we have enough in our armoury to negotiate that challenge,” he continued.

Mutebi will be without a couple of senior players due to injury. Julius Poloto and defender John Revita missed the start of the season and continue to be long time absentees together with Gift Ali who has featured just once.

Mutebi also confirmed that striker Sadat Anaku and Dominic Ayella join the growing list in the treatment room.

However, Mutebi expect his squad to be able to cope with challenging for the title because it is a situation they have been involved in recent seasons.

“It will be a little bit tough for us, we shall miss a couple of starters for the game and we shall also miss players like (Sadat) Anaku, (Dominic) Ayella and others who have been out for long,” Mutebi disclosed.

“The experience you say is regarding the age, but apart from their age, they have been involved in crucial games. They are the one who played last season, and have been around such an environment,” he added.

Kizza Bukenya, Steven Sserwadda, Sam Ssenyonjo, Musa Ramathan and Andrew Kawooya are not available due to their involvement with the Uganda U20 national team at the U20 AFCON finals.

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