The Express FC base at the Betway Mutesa II Stadium in Wankulukuku has seen a frenzy of activities over the course of the football break induced by the coronavirus outbreak in Uganda.
The six-time league champions look like a house in order, and the legion of fans and those from rival camps will look on with a keen eye to see what the Red Eagles have inside their luggage when they get their 2020/21 campaign underway in Arua against Onduparaka.
There has been a lot of enforcements at the club which include a revamp of the club’s secretariat to go with a renewal of the sponsorship deal with Betway Uganda.
Wasswa Bbosa who returned to the club in January albeit on interim basis was handed a three-year contract.
His technical team was beefed up with a conditioning coach Hellen Buteme, goalkeeper coach Daniel Kiwanuka shipped from rivals KCCA and a performance analyst Lewis Ainebyona.
A squad rebuilding process followed and an overhaul of 18 of last season’s players released and replaced with 18 new faces including Abel Eturude.
“We have been preparing well in the last one month and I think right now we have a good team and in good shape,” Eturude said ahead of the game before adding.
“We’re ready to compete this season but our game against Onduparaka I know it will be difficult because to play and win them at the Greenlight Stadium is not easy.”
“But we shall build around last season’s win because our seasonal target is clear we are coming to compete for nothing else but the trophy,” he said.
Apart from Mahad Yaya another new signing who is out injured, the rest of the players in the Express FC squad are available for selection.
There will be a new defence partnership of newly appointed club captain Enock Walusimbi and Uganda Cranes defender Murushid Juuko.
Frank Ssenyondo who scored the only goal of the game when these two sides last met at Greenlight alongside Frank Kalanda who scored 11 league goals last season will be tasked to hunt down goals for the Red Eagles.
On the other hand, the Caterpillars will be under the stewardship of new head coach Vialli Bainomugisha who replaced Simeon Masaba on a three-year contract.
The suspension and eventual cancellation of the league came at a good time for Onduparaka as they seemed to be in a free fall with the club choking on welfare challenges.
The Arua based side has used the period to get the club back in order. They have had a couple of new players including; youngster Gabriel Matata, Oscar Agaba, Moses Okot, goalkeeper Augustine Opoka among others.
Ondu lost some of their outstanding players including goalkeeper Yusuf Wasswa, Hassan Muhamood and Dudu Ramathan. But they were able to keep Rashid Okocha who signed a new contact.
All eyes will be on Matata and striker Julius Malingumu, the club’s top scorer last season with eight league goals for Onduparaka to pick up something huge from Saturday’s game.
Onduparaka beat Express 2-0 in the first leg of last season at the Betway Muteesa II Stadium, Wankulukuku and the Red Eagles won the return leg 1-0 in Arua.
Both sides finished level on 31 points last season with Onduparaka occupying the eighth position by virtue of goal difference, Express was ninth.