It is still early in the season, but with the troubles that 2005 league champions Police FC are besieged with, every and point gained matters.
The Cops will make the short trip to Mandela National stadium, Namboole on Tuesday 10th, September to face record league champions SC Villa in a game they have to win to get their season back on track.
Villa may be record league champions, but it is not a record they may be able to boast of in the near future with the current trend of performances they have put up recently.
Last season, they struggled, failing to win a game in their opening eight games of the season, but they managed to scrap by and avoid relegation with two games to spare. The club faced similar fears as they lost to newly promoted side Kyetume on the opening day.
But a 3-1 win over Mbarara City, in their last home game seemed to have settled nerves and the club carries an image of optimism rather than anxiety about them.
The club could also pick up free three points from the board room after Proline failed to honour their fixture on Saturday. The case is yet to be decided though but has been logged to the league’s disciplinary committee.
Head coach Edward Kaziba, was full of praise of his side’s energetic and committed performance against Mbarara. And Kaziba will scream out more of the same lads as they take on Police.
The Cops are the bottom side in the league, but that would bother them the least, because, by this time last season, the Cops were bottom of the league after losing all their opening three games of the season, but they managed to turn around their season and finished comfortably.
Abdallah Mubiru’s team are still winless, losing against BUL FC before they were held to a goalless draw by Mbarara City on Saturday.
After they were docked points for failing to honour their game against Onduparaka, the desire to get a positive point tally on board is evident within the team. Going by their performance, it suggests they have what it takes to get over a team as motivated as Villa.
Key to Police’s turn around after their early season struggles, was the form of Juma Balinya, the forward has left the club. All suggestions point towards new signing Samson Kigozi to take over that role.
The forward is yet to make any real impact but he has been a joy to watch thus far. With great technical ability, good upper body strength and vision, Kigozi will ask a lot of questions from Villa’s defence that includes former Cop Ibrahim Kibumba.
Yusuf Ssozi has been the engine in the middle, running from box-to-box, and controlling the tempo of play for Police alongside Samuel Kayongo who put up a man of the match performance against Mbarara. While Johnson Odong should be carrying more weight for the team.
The loan signing of former Jogoo defender Henry Katongole seems to have settled their defensive struggles from last season, but Mubiru is yet to find a suitable partner for the defender. Hillary Jomi had a strong performance in goal on his debut and will provide suitable cover for Davis Mutebi.
On the contrary, the hosts still have last season’s club top scorer Bashir Mutanda aboard. Mutanda is yet to find the back of the net this season, but his performance against Mbarara suggests it’s a matter of time till he opens his account.
Ambrose Kirya seems to have shaken off his injury troubles from last season, grabbing the third goal against Mbarara. Youngster Charles Lwanga has been the creative spark in attack but the contributions of Owori David down the right flank both in attack and defensively cannot go unnoticed.
Skipper Asuman Harishe has looked solid so far, but it will be an emotional game for partner Kibumba who previously played for Police.
Abdallah Mubiru will still be without new signing Hood Kaweesa who is yet to acquire his ITC, while Pius Kaggwa is still out with injury. On the other hand, Villa do not have many injury worries but former Police midfielder Albert Mugisa may still sit out this one as he recovers.
For all Police’s dominance and exciting possession-based football, it has to be frustrating for Mubiru whose team have won just two games in their past 10 games and are yet to find the back of the net this term.
Last season, both matches ended in stalemates, Police rallying from behind to draw 2-2 at home, before they threw away an early lead to draw 1-1 in the return leg.
Since 2015, Police have not picked up maximum points over their hosts, as seven of the nine matches since have ended in stalemates. The Jogoo have managed just one win over the Cops at home in that period.