The curtains came down on yet another exciting season of the Star Times Uganda Premier League last weekend with KCCA picking up their 13th title.
This season has some of the best individual performances in a while and Watchdog Uganda examines who the best performing individuals of the season have been.
Goalkeeper: JAMES ALITHO (URA).
With many questioning the motive behind him refusing a contract renewal at Vipers and choosing to move on, Alitho has seen his star grow even further after the kind of season he has enjoyed as Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)
URA have put on the best defensive performance this season and Alitho has been central to that record of conceding just 13 goals and keeping 16 clean sheets altogether. And it’s not just because of the stats, but Alitho has come in handy when needed like his penalty save against Police on his debut.
Tooro United’s Joel Mutakubwa pushes Alitho all the way for this spot but misses out. KCCA’s Charles Lukwago would be the pick except for his episodes of howlers.
Right Back: PAUL WILLA (Police FC)
Dubbed a prodigy during his formative years at KCCA, Willa did not cut it for manager Mike Mutebi who pushed him out first on loan to Police FC before the deal was made permanent.
And Willa has been one of the bright lights at Police producing top performances both at right back and as a central defender. His tireless runs up and down the flanks yielded winning goals against Tooro United and many will remember that stunner against Paidha Black Angels.
Willa has had quite a season that he even caught the eye of national team coach plus the admiration of Mike Mutebi who has recently made it clear that the right back will be a top target for the champions.
Left Back: MUSTAFA KIZZA (KCCA).
It’s been quite a year or so for the young left back since his debut last season. Often criticized for his defensive short falls, Kizza has this season improved greatly in that regard.
But it is his threat going forward that has again stood out from the youngster and again has been one of the top assist makers on top of grabbed three goals, the most by a defender this season.
Kizza’s sweet left foot has seen Spanish top division side Real Valladolid come in search of his signature. Express’ Disan Galiwango misses out just like Paidha Black Angels Sula Ssekamwa who deserves a notable mention.
Centre Back: TIMOTHY AWANY (KCCA).
The level of consistence and elegance exhibited by the KCCA captain invoke memories of Ugandan football legends such as John Latigo. Confident on the ball, unbeatable one on one and physically imposing, Awany has been by far the best defender and surely a top contender for player of the year.
Awany has been a rock featuring in 29 of KCCA’s 30 league games on their way to league triumph scoring what should be one of the most crucial goals for them against URA.
Centre Back: BAKER MBOWA (URA).
URA has put on the best defensive record in the league and that has been largely down to one man, Baker Mbowa an orthodox central defender of sorts.
Despite his quite nature, Mbowa is as mean when it comes to stopping attacks, terrific in the air and as great in one on ones. But many will argue that URA’s style means that their defenders are not as exposed but Mbowa has also stepped in when it has really mattered making that last ditch tackle.
Vipers’ Livingstone Mulondo stakes a high claim but has missed part of the season through injury while Express’ John Revita has also been great in defence and deserves a special mention.
Central Midfield: HASSAN KALEGA (Police FC)
Abdallah Mubiru knew he had picked up a rough diamond when Vipers agreed to a loan move for him. Kalega however, did not have a good start early on coming from the bench as a late substitute.
But since he was given an opportunity, he never looked back using his strength on the ball and range of passing to dictate the temple in midfield and finding his role as the conductor in the Cops’ impressive displays this season.
Kalega has been a revelation this season that there were loud chatters for his name to be included on the national team roster.
Central Midfield: ALLAN KAYIWA (Tooro United).
Tooro United have been impressive especially in the second round of the league but Kayiwa takes most of the plaudits for their turn in form as it coincides with his change of fortune infront of goal. Not your usual hardworking or perhaps the best technically gifted midfielder in the league, Kayiwa seemed to have been the answer to a lack of a top goal scorer at the club, chipping in with 10 goals which have won not less than 15 points for Tooro United.
KCCA’s Nicolas Kasozi’s, Kirinnya Jinja combative midfielder David Bagoole do deserve an honourable mention.
Attacking Midfielder: JUMA BALINNYA (Police FC)
Balinnya was picked up by Police’s Abdallah Mubiru from Vipers and seems to have been rebuilt into the star he is meant to be.
Balinnya has taken the league by storm scoring a massive 19 goals to top the scoring charts and what is more impressive is he has done that from midfield and has not scored a hatrick.
He has scored all kinds of goals from tap-ins, to scorchers and set pieces, but Balinnya’s all round play has been immense, dropping deep to involve into play, taking on and beating defenders for fun as well as creating for his teammates have been a custom of his performances.
An easy pick for player of the season. KCCA’s Allan Okello despite not hitting previous heights and URA’s Shafik Kagimu miss out on this one.
Forward: BASHIR MUTANDA (SC Villa).
With the kind of season SC Villa has had, Mutanda’s performances have been the only positives from Villa Park.
With Villa fighting for their lives in the top flight, it has been Mutanda who has provided a ray of hope for them often digging them out of deep holes.
One of the front runners for top scorer, by the midpoint of the season, injuries have limited his time on the pitch in the second round.
Forward: MIKE MUTYABA (KCCA)
Mutyaba scored 10 goals this season before an injury against Vipers ruled him out for the remainder of the season. But it is not just goals that have described his season rather the story behind his new found fame. Mutyaba quit football in 2017 calling time on his career which promised so much at the start. He claimed to be frustrated with football.
A year later, he resurfaced at KCCA where manager Mike Mutebi convinced him of his ability to continue playing football. Mutyaba rejoined football as a motivator for KCCA’s youngsters but six months later, his role had changed to match winner.
His goals saw KCCA through the most difficult part of the season and it was his equalizer against Vipers minutes before his injury that all but confirmed KCCA as champions.
Forward: JOEL MADONDO (Kirinya Jinja SS).
Another youngster to look out for in the future especially if he is to continue with the kind of performance he has had this season.
Madondo was first used as a wide player but since he was charged with leading the line, he seemed to have found his mojo scoring six goals in the opening six games before ending the season with a total of 13 goals.
His temperament remains in question though and seemed to have run out of steam as the season drew to a close but that can be overlooked given that he still has a lot to learn.
KCCA’s Patrick Kaddu, Nyamtyobora’s Ibrahim Dada and Vipers’ Dan Muzeeyi Sserunkuuma do get an honorable mention in that regard.