After a 15-day hiatus, the StarTimes Uganda Premier League returns with trophy chasing URA hosting Express FC at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.
Elsewhere, Tooro United will host BUL FC in a mid-table clash as they start life away from their home ground in Buhinga, Fort Portal. Hitherto a fortress, Buhinga is undergoing redevelopment.
Sam Ssimbwa’s URA side is fourth on the 16-team log with 39 points, while George Ssemwogerere’s Express side lie 11th on the log with 29 points.
The goalless draw in the previous fixture between these two was the seventh time the Tax Collectors had failed to beat their visitors, with their last victory over them coming almost four years ago.
Express have registered five draws and two wins over their hosts.
The turnaround in form for the tax collectors is something that should give Ssimbwa a huge boost going into this game. After registering seven consecutive draws in the first round, they have seen their fortunes change winning seven, drawing four and losing just twice of their next 13 fixtures.
Despite URA boasting the best defensive record in the league this season conceding just 10 goals, it is their offensive game that has improved significantly scoring 17 goals in the previous 13 games as compared to just 5 in the opening 10 games.
Ssimbwa believes his team can finish second in the league but going by the show of complacence in their draw against BUL on Friday, they will need to dig deeper into their skins especially with the finish line coming closer.
And they come up against an improved Red Eagles side since the coming of club legend Ssemwogerere. There has been improvement in their defensive game keeping three clean sheets in the six league games under him, an improvement from the 10 goals conceded in the preceding eight games before him.
With pressure mounting on Ssemwogerere and his team, midfielder Ibrahim Kayiwa sounded rather positive saying they are ready for URA and calming fears that it is only a matter of time before the team start banging in the goals.
“We are ready for the game against URA. The game won’t be so hard and are going to play our game. We are not conceding many goals so we are good as well defensively but we need to put in an extra effort to improve on scoring. We can score I’m expecting a very big change in our offensive soon,” said Kayiwa.
The Red Eagles are without striker Eric Kambale and defender Hamis Batega who are out with hamstring injuries but they may welcome back Frank Zaga Tumwesigye from injury. URA on the other hand may be without James Alitho and Joachim Ojera.
Ssimbwa, however has the services of Cromwell Rwothomio, who’s improved their shape going forward since his transfer from Paidha, Captain Shafik Kagimu and Peter Lwasa firing on all cylinders. Moses Sseruyide may be another menace down the flanks.
Ssemwogerere will look to Brian Umony who is improving day by day and he may recall Tony Odur to partner him upfront. The form of winger Micheal Birungi and Ibrahim Kayiwa’s influence in the midfield will be greatly needed.
Elsewhere, Tooro United will start life at their new ground in Wankulukuku as Jinja based side BUL Bidco visit. Tooro United won the first fixture in Jinja 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Allan Kayiwa. Both sides are on a similar run of form as they have won just once, drawn three and lost once in their last five games.
BUL lie fifth on the log with 39 points while Tooro United are seventh three points behind their visitors.
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