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UPL Season Preview: New season, ambition and direction for Busoga United

By Shafic Kiyaga

Throughout the offseason, the club has rebranded to Busoga United FC encompassing a more diverse culture of football fans. With FUFA pushing for more community-based clubs, the hierarchy at the club has bought into the idea. Formerly Kirinya Jinja SS, the club does know the economies of scale that come with liaising themselves with people of a particular background.

And with the region of Busoga, they are faced with diverse football-mad yet hungry community with an unlimited number of opportunities for more growth and development, the club Chief Executive Hassan Mugerwa acknowledges what it means for the club.

“It is a pretty exciting time for us as a club. Rebranding to Busoga United FC provides us with more possibilities for growth as a club. And am excited for the future of the club and football in Busoga as a whole,” Mugerwa told

The move by the club to rebrand goes a long way in showing how clever the brains behind the club are. The just-concluded Copa Coca-Cola schools’ championships in Jinja showcased how the locals were starved of top-level football.

From Jinja, Iganga, Namutamba, Busembatia and as far as Mbale, the move has created a huge storm and re-invigorated the dormant love of the game. The Kyabazinga of Busoga William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Gabula Nadiope IV and Kingdom Prime Dr. Joseph Muvawala underlines how much the Club has caught the interest throughout the kingdom.

Busoga United players celebrate a goal last season at the Mighty Arena, the team changed names to Busoga United and will host league games at FUFA Technical Center in Njeru / Courtesy Images

Unfortunately, in football results on the pitch do matter more. Busoga endured a horrendous and inconsistent 2018/2019 season but scrapped and scrambled everything possible and one thing is certain they’ll just keep fighting on against all the odds.

In 2017/18, former coach Charles Ayiekoh led Busoga to a remarkable fifth-place finish. Many expected a repeat display last season, though they remained comfortably off the relegation places, they will feel disappointed by how far they withdrew down the table.

A jugged start left them with just three wins from their opening 10 games of the season, and surprisingly, Ayiekoh threw in the towel at the club at the end of the first round.

In stepped Abbey Bogere Kikomeko, the man responsible for seeing them through promotion to the Premier League. Six wins in the seven games as Busoga picked up wins in the right places to settle any relegation nerves early and also bring back the feel-good factor in the dressing room.

And Kikomeko has enjoyed quite a rollercoaster ride at the club. His two previous reigns involve promotion to the top division before he was overlooked by the club, then later returning to guide them to safety in the 2016/17 season.

Abbey Kikomeko will be in charge of the side hope for stability to build a strong Competetive side especially with the youths that are coming through the ranks / Courtesy Images

And according to one of his players, Kikomeko owns the ‘us against the rest’ attitude and has instilled the same mentality into his team. What they lack in quality, they always make up for it in sheer work ethic.

He has often been criticized as outdated, but he does not over complicate his style of play, and that’s no insult because sometimes less is more. There is no denying his philosophy has been effective at the club.

His lesser-spotted 4-4-2 formation did get an end product out of Joel Madondo and Fred Amaku while David Bagoole and Nelson Mandela became more lethal in midfield. However, with an average of 1.13 goals scored compared to 0.9 in 2017/18 means they often cracked in defense.

Madondo was the difference for Busoga United at the start of last season, the striker had a season to remember, hitting 13 goals equating to over 46% of the total goals.

Though Busoga struggled in front of goal, Madondo was often the shining light in their attack but he also couldn’t plug the gaps efficiently enough to find the back of the net more. The striker needs to dig deeper this season if Busoga are to score with more frequency.

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The side has lost industrious midfielder David Bagoole to URA Football Club in the ongoing transfer window | UPL Photo

Ivan Wani has returned for a second stint at the Mighty Arena with plenty to prove. Wani was an exciting prospect as he broke through the ranks at the club but question marks remain whether he can deliver consistently. If Kikomeko can get him firing, Busoga may have pulled off a coup.

There is nothing supporters like more than to see players coming through from the junior teams. Who could be next? Lawrence Tezikya had a great showing in the Copa Coca Cola Schools Championship, grabbing 11 goals for Jinja SS and could be the next to make a breakthrough.

As Tezikya is set on making his mark, Godfrey Akol another local hero is on his way out of the club. There will be sentiments from the fans as he joins cross-town rivals BUL Bidco FC. David Bagoole is also on his way out of the club to URA FC and could prove to be a big miss.

Though they have made themselves stronger, and have shown themselves able to deal with everything thrown at them so far, one thing that is for sure, Busoga seem set to keep coming back for more.

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