Maroons officially earned promotion back to the Uganda Premier League on Tuesday thanks to their satisfying 3-1 victory over Kyambogo.
Despite picking up only one win in their previous four games, yesterday’s triumph saw the Prisoners secure their place at the top tier of Ugandan football with a game to spare thanks to their early victories in the FUFA Big League.
It was one of the least surprising promotions in the Big League history as Maroons were overwhelming favorites to make an instant return to top flight.
But while they were majority’s pick to return, Maroons will also start their Premier League campaign next season as candidates to go down. The former league champions have a bad reputation of making constant returns to second tier football.
However, Maroons’ Chief Executive Officer Innocent Oguda is adamant his team is a complete and stable side now ready to preserve their position in the premier league.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate the coach, the players, the coaching staff, the fans, and the club at large upon achieving this,” Oguda expressed gratitude in an interview with Kawowo Sports.
“It has been a tough season considering the fact that we were relegated last season and our target was immediate promotion to the Uganda Premier League.
“The Big League has a lot of challenges including being very expensive, its demanding to the players and technical management but we were able to overcome all the hurdles to achieve this.
“Top flight football is the epitome of every footballer, coach and football administrators. Playing in the league is every footballer’s dream in the country so I congratulate my team.
“About our chances in the league, the previous campaigns have been a learning curve. With the lessons learnt, we are a whole different package now. The players have matured, we are bringing in some experienced players and there’s more involvement from the Prisons service as you know Maroons is the biggest tool of PR Prisons has.”
Up until early last month when they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Ndejje University, Maroons had not lost a game in the Big League.
The two successive losses that included a 2-1 defeat to Kira United brought a late jolt in the team, but their 4-1 thumping of Sporting United set them back on track as only a draw against Kyambogo would have seen them back in the league.
They have relished their season, with 43 goals scored while conceding only 17. Only Ndejje in the Elgon Group has conceded less with 16.
While it’s been a collective effort, Big League top scorer Patrick Kaddu, Solomon Walusimbi, Pius Obuya and Yahya Luuti have been the outstanding performers at Luzira, and credit must go to Yusuf Kyambade, one of Maroons coaches for unearthing the talented Walusimbi.
The youngster has been a breath of fresh air at the club, scoring nine goals on his debut season.
Oguda says: “It’s been a team effort and players like Kaddu, Walusimbi, Orombi, Kapampa, Obuya, Anguyo, Ayeikho, Malyamungu, Kikonyogo and Mustapha have all been exceptional.
“It has not been a smooth ride though with a few bumps along the way like when we drew and lost two consecutive games to cut the 11 point gap to 3 points, but credit to the technical team and players for overcoming the bumps.
“Credit to Obuya who has combined very well with Kaddu in the second round and the whole team for contributing to Kaddu’s goals, and the technical prowess of coach Asaph [Mwebaze] and his technical team on that. They are the best and you can relate their works to the beautiful style of football while picking results.
“I expected Kaddu to be the top scorer with even more goals. He is a top player one the national team coaches should be looking at as a potential replacement for the retired Massa.”
Last season when the club got relegated, Mwebaze was not at the helm following his sacking by the club in the first half of the season. Although Maroons were battling relegation at the time of his sacking, a section of Maroons fans believe their team would have survived relegation had their long-term serving coach stayed.
Oguda holds the same opinion and says firing Mwebaze was a mistake that will not happen again.
“Nothing of that kind will happen this time around. It cost us a place on the table of men. A mistake we learnt from and won’t happen again.
“He was offered a new contract at the beginning of the current season. We are looking forward to working with him next season because he is the best to lift the club to the next level.
“Who doesn’t enjoy the football Maroons play? His brand of football is excellent, has a wonderful working relationship with the players, technical team and support staff. Let’s not forget he’s learned with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He is the best coach to carry us forward.”