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Understanding the reasons behind the surge in goals scored this seasson

By Football256 Team
Express FC duo George Ssenkaaba and Abel Eturude celebrate a goal against BUL Bidco FC | Express FC photo (Aminah Babirye)

By Allan Damba

With the Uganda Premier League on a forced break due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and a subsequent lockdown, we take a look at one of the things that caught our attention with the league currently in its final bend.

Huge amounts of goals is not quality so accustomed to Uganda’s football, but it is one thing that has been witnessed this season even with four games to spare.

This has been a season like no other in comparison to the recent past, it has seen a whopping 602 goals scored.

The highest scorers are fourth-placed KCCA FC, and third Vipers SC with 56 goals apiece, whereas bottom sides Kitara FC and MYDA FC have conceded 80 and 77 respectively.

The 602 goal return represents 146 more goals, compared to the 456 scored in the 2019/20 season that was also prematurely ended due to COVID-19 with five games to play.

This season’s goal tally is 77 more than in the 2018/19 campaign (525) where all the 480 games were played. In that campaign, the league’s most prolific teams were KCCA on 61 and Vipers on 40 after 30 matches.

An astonishing 169 goals more have been scored in comparison to the 2017/18 season, where they only managed 433 across the entire season.

The relations can go on for the entire day, but this season will surely keep standing out among the best in terms of goals amassed.

But, what is the cause behind this? Is it down to tactics, great strikers or poor defenders? Footballing experts take you through what they think led to this new trend.

Proline FC director and CAF coaches instructor Mujib Kasule attributes this to the low fitness levels of the players that came as a result of not playing football for over nine months.

“Players were seated home for almost a year and only trained for a month before the start of the season. This affected them especially the defenders. They were not physically fit,” Kasule explains.

He further adds that most coaches lately are fond of tinkering with player’s abilities and roles, and therefore, end up messing up every time they are played out of position.

“Today, some coaches tinker around with the positions of players because a coach will think he will be praised more in case a player thrives in his unnatural position,” he says.

“For example, Herbert Achai, who is a winger, is forced to play at left-back, Bright Anukani at times is played at the right-wing, and they end up messing in defence.”

“Simon Namwanja, a good left-back, but has played the largest part of the season as a central defender, and he conceded an average of three goals per game,” he adds.

Former Onduparaka FC head coach Asaph Mwebaze believes that changing a player’s positions is a thing of modern-day football as a footballer has to adapt to the prevailing situation.

“I think the tinkering also helps bring out the best in some players and helps teams. Coaches always do this for the better, especially in the attacking setup,” Mwebaze states.

Mwebaze and Kasule both agree that most tacticians have shifted to attacking football as compared to the early 2000s; a factor that is directly responsible for more numbers in goals in the league.

Mwebaze says: “Coaching has improved over the last years. Most coaches have learnt the basics of attacking football, and this means they will score more as compared to the early 2000s when they cared more about not conceding.”

Kasule re-echoes this saying: “The coaches have moved past the defensive tactics that marred Ugandan football over the years. Now we see a lot of attacking-minded coaches, attack-minded systems that will see you score more goals but also concede more.”

If the league gets to return, we may as well witness the most potent season in terms of finding the net in many years.

The Ugandan football faithful will be praying this trend extends to the national team as the Cranes has over the years struggled for goals that most recently cost them qualification to the 2022 Cameroon AFCON.

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