Pre-season is a time of optimism and hope, especially if you are a club with the stature and pedigree of Sports Club Villa.
The record Uganda Premier League champions continue to chase for an elusive 17th title for over 15 years, and nearly suffered relegation in 2019.
A third-place finish last season went a long way in reinstating some of the lost hope, with the club looking to build around that positivity for the 2020/21 season.
Villa has gone about its business in pre-season quietly but steadily. Plans to revamp and resolve the administrative troubles were rolled out in October and received massive backing from fans and well-wishers.
That was followed by two strategic partnerships; Ultimate Fitness Kampala partnered with the Jogoo for three years in a deal worth UGX 430 million before Ecopharm also jumped ship in a five-year partnership worth UGX 2.4 billion with the club.
All that has set the stage rolling for head coach Edward Kaziba to have high ground from which he can strive to ensure the club wins their first piece of silverware since the Uganda Cup triumph in 2015.
And Kaziba the architect for a turnaround season last year has promised entertainment and style – two ingredients that have been lacking from the club for some time.
“The club’s target this season is to entertain and win with style,” Kaziba told the club’s official website.
“We finished third last season, an improvement from the previous season, and as a progressive club, we must aim higher this season, we are Sports Club Villa,” he added.
While it has been a summer of major departures with Ambrose Kirya, Ibrahim Kibumba, Bashir Mutanda and Ronald Magwali all leaving, the club has captured exciting players to add to the ones who agreed new deals.
Martin Ssenkooto, Meddie Kibirige, Nasser Lukwago, Geoffrey Goffin Oyirwoth, Muhammed Ssenoga, Isaac Ogwang, Andrew Kiwanuka and Mike Sekiganda have arrived at Villa Park, while Amir kakomo, Moses Kiggundu and Saidi Keni have all signed new contracts.
Impressively, David Owori and left-back Derrick Ndahiro stay on for now and that gives Kaziba more confidence going into the new season.
“We have added in some young talented players whom we think will easily grasp the technical team’s tactics so that together we can propel the club to the highest level.”
“They are blending in very well and fast although it takes time to catch up with the playing style of the team. We cannot wait to unleash what we have been working on in the pre-season,” Kaziba said.
The Jogoo will get their campaign underway against BUL FC on Friday, December 4. They will then host Mbarara City on Tuesday, December 8, before they face URA on Saturday, December 12.
The Jogoo will then face back to back derbies in mid-December.
First KCCA will visit Villa before they play Express FC in what will be their last game before the league takes a two-months break to allow the Uganda Cranes to prepare and take part in the African Nations Championship.