The 2019-20 Uganda Premier League season got underway with thrilling action from the seven games played between Thursday to Saturday last week.
A total of 16 goals were scored, newcomers Kyetume FC stunned SC Villa in the season opener, KCCA FC began the title defence on a good note while Vipers SC needed to come from a goal down to defeat ten-man Bright Stars FC.
Joel Muyita brings the players he thinks were outstanding on matchday one.
Goalkeeper: Joel Mutakubwa (Kyetume FC)
A tough choice to make considering that Charles Lukwago too had a good display for KCCA FC including a fine save from Hakim Ssenkumba’s ferocious strike in the closing minutes of the game but I will settle for Joel Mutakubwa.
Good command of his defence and came out when necessary. He kept a clean sheet in his first competitive game for the Slaughters in their win against SC Villa.
Right Back: Ashraf Mandela (URA FC)
A versatile player who is adept at running the right-wing. Ashraf Mandela had a good display against Maroons FC balancing both on the defensive and offensive end.
His telling delivery was directed into the back of the net by Maroons FC midfielder Ronald Orombi and he also had a couple of other runs he made on the day.
Left Back: Musitafa Kiiza (KCCA FC)
Most of the times Mustafa Kiiza is known for roving upfront to deliver crosses but against Wakiso Giants FC, he had a busy day trying to tame Hassan Ssenyonjo, Viane Ssekajugo and Ivan Kiweewa who kept alternating in his space.
Above all, he provided the assist for KCCA FC goal scored by Allan Okello who dashed at the near post to head home from a well weighted cross.
Centre Back: Bernard Tahomera (Kyetume FC)
One of the key pillars in guiding Kyetume FC to the league, the lanky defender stood tall to tame SC Villa forwards.
His prowess in the air saw him literally win all the aerial duels and remained composed even when SC Villa stepped up their efforts especially in the second stanza.
Centre Back: Jonathan Mugabi (Kyetume FC)
Save for a mistake he committed that nearly cost Kyetume FC when he failed to head the ball away, Mugabi formed a solid partnership with Tahomera to keep SC Villa at bay.
The experienced defender denied the Jogoos when he cleared a goal-bound header from Asuman Alishe and it is not surprising that he was eventually named man of the match.
Holding Midfield: Hassan Kalega (URA FC)
Without a doubt the best player in this position last season while at Police FC, Hassan Kalega is a true example of a modern-day anchor-man who ignites attacks and dictates play for his team.
The intelligent midfielder was in fine form against Maroons FC giving good cover to his backline but also saving time to surge upfront. He laid up Saidi Kyeyune for the opening goal and also had attempts at goal.
Right-wing: Paul Mucureezi (Mbarara City FC)
He was a thorn in the flesh for Proline FC backline and scored two fo the three goals for Mbarara City FC in their 3-0 win.
Mucuurezi was the only player who scored a brace on matchday one and eventually, he was named man of the match.
Central Attacking Midfield: Saidi Kyeyune (URA FC)
Albeit he is played behind the main striker at URA FC, in my line up, I will employ him as central midfielder.
Saidi Kyeyune is slowly returning to his best, he ended last season on a high and it is from where he has started this season.
Besides his goal against Maroons FC, he was industrious throughout the game and had his fine free-kick parried away by goalkeeper Emmanuel Akol.
Striker: Fahad Bayo (Vipers SC)
Not on the scoresheet against Bright Stars FC but the robust striker was vital in Vipers SC victory.
Bayo set up Abraham Ndugwa for the equalizer three minutes into the second stanza and his strike outside the area was spilt by goalkeeper Nicholas Ssebwato before Dan Sserunkuma tapped home from the rebound.
Second Striker: Allan Okello (KCCA FC)
He is by far the best player in the league at the moment and it seems he will shoulder the responsibility of carrying KCCA FC this season.
Not so many does Allan Okello score with his head but he made a good run to meet Musitafa Kizza’s cross.
He had several attempts including one off his trademark cut from the right and shoot but he was unlucky with his low drive hitting the base off the post.
If there is anything Okello has added to his game, it is the ability to score goals. The goal against Wakiso Giants FC was his 9th in the last 12 appearances for KCCA FC.
Left-Wing: Hassan Ssenyonjo (Wakiso Giants FC)
Not necessarily a winger but for purposes of fitting in this lineup, he will be deployed there. Despite ending on a losing team against KCCA FC, Hassan Ssenyonjo had a good game.
He was dominant in the midfield and kept troubling KCCA FC backline with his shrewd runs.
Matchday One Best XI: Joel Mutakubwa(Kyetume FC), Ashraf Mandela(URA FC), Musitafa Kiiza(KCCA FC), Jonathan Mugabi(Kyetume FC), Bernard Tahomera(Kyetume FC), Hassan Kalega(URA FC), Paul Mucureezi(Mbarara City FC), Hassan Ssenyonjo(Wakiso Giants), Fahad Bayo(Vipers SC), Saidi Kyeyune(URA FC), Allan Okello(KCCA FC)
Honourable Mentions: Charles Lukwago(KCCA FC), Charles Musiige(Tooro United FC), Deogratious Ojok(BUL FC), Abraham Ndugwa(Vipers SC), Ibrahim Oriti (Mbarara City FC)