The team to beat. The bunch of players to beat and Edward Golola and company looks in mood to take on challengers.

The two time league champions showed their muscle by beating SC Villa in the FUFA Super Cup despite playing more than 45 minutes with a man less and without their head coach in the dugout.

The soft spoken Edward Golola may miss the start of the season as he is with St. Mary’s Kitende at the East Africa Secondary School Games in Rwanda but has already sent a warning to rivals.

“We want to defend our title,” he said although he admits it will be a difficult season.

Being defending champions, all eyes will be on us unlike last season when they only discovered we were a threat late in the season.

The team has gone on to strengthen with wise buys in the market. After letting Ismail Kazibwe, Mike Mutyaba and Vincent Kayizzi were released; the side has acquired defender Shafiki Bakaki from Express FC, striker Erisha Sekisambu from SC Villa, Brian Nkuubi from Kira Young and forward John Semazzi from Express FC with William Wadri and Augustine Walusimbi also likely to join the team before close of the window.

Of the new buys, Bakaki has relatively looked good in the pre-season and with him at the back, expect a harder backline to break.

He was superb against SC Villa in the FUFA Super Cup and so did William Wadri. The arrival of John Semazzi, Erisha Sekisambu and possibly William Wadri will most probably get the scoring burden off midfielder Farouk Miya but January signing Julius Malingumu must up his game.

Other players who must lift their game are midfielders Allan Kyambadde and Joseph Mpande. The two were mediocre last campaign but their bad form was covered by the brilliant performances from Miya, Kizito and Mutyaba.

Looking at the first five opening fixtures, the champions face newcomers The Saints at home on Saturday before playing away to other new boys JMC Hippos.

Their third game will be another away tie to Bul. FC, and then play another away tie against SCVU before completing their first five with a big one against KCCA FC.

VIPERS SC SQAUD:

Goalkeepers: Ismail Watenga, James Alitho & Meddie Kibirige

Defenders: Shafiki Bakaki, Yusuf Mukisa, Deus Bukenya, Dan Birikwalira, Musa Malunda, Denis Ddumba, Nicholas Wadada (C) and Halid Lwaliwa

Midfielders: Farouk Miya, Joseph Mpande, Allan Kyambadde, Ibrahim Saddam Juma, Brian Nkuubi, Patrick Ssembuya, Duncan Ezekiel Seninde, Keziron Kizito, Siraje Sentamu and David Owori.

Forwards: John Semazzi, Erisha Ssekisambu, Julius Malingumu, Joseph Semujju & Moses Batali.

Pending Arrivals: William Wadri (striker) & Augustine Walusimbi (defender)

Coaching Staff:

Edward Golola (Head Coach), Richard Wasswa (Assistant Coach) Stephen Kiggundu (Goalkeeping Coach).

VIPERS SC 1st Five fixtures:

Saturday August 22: The Saints (Home), Saturday August 29: JMC Hippos FC (Away), Tuesday September 8: BUL. FC (Away), Tuesday September 15: SCVU (Away), Tuesday 22: KCCA FC (Home)

Senior Staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering football

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