Elvis Kibaale shields the ball away from Karim Watambala (Credit: John Batanudde)

2020-21 Uganda Premier League (Match Day 9):

Tuesday, 23rd  February 2021

Amidst the rains over the St Mary’s Stadium skyline and the surrounding areas, the Uganda Premier League reigning champions Vipers Sports Club endured to record a late 1-0 victory over a resilient BUL on Tuesday, 23 February 2021.

Yunus Sentamu scored his fifth goal of the season since re-joining his primary club in the January 2021 transfer window.

The former AS Vita, CS Sfaxien, FC Ilves and Tirana center forward was at the right position in the right timing to head past impressive goalkeeper Abdul Kimera in BUL’s goal posts off a teasing delivery from second half substitute Paul Mucurezi with just 6 minutes left on the clock.

The goal was a breather of sorts for the Venoms in their 6th victory of the campaign coming off 9 matches as they maintained the 2 points lead on the log off fast improving second placed Express (the Red Eagles won 4-1 on the road away to MYDA in Tororo).

Before the goal, there were nerves and worry lines cast across the faces of one many Vipers’ loyal faithful with signs of an eminent stalemate in sight.

Sentamu himself had a penalty appeal not given by FIFA Referee Ali Sabilla Chelengat as early as the third minute and was guilty of a missed one against one incident with goalkeeper Kimera.

Yunus Sentamu (left) passes the ball as Aggrey Madoi closes by (Credit: John Batanudde)

BUL posed some provocation when former Vipers’ forward Musa “Royalty” Esenu out sprinted the Vipers’ defence for about 50 metres but the resultant cross from the left was well defended by Bashir Asiku, the man of the match.

Striker Muhammed Shaban recovered from a knock after a challenge by Ramadan Dudu in the 10th minute to soldier on.

Two minutes later, Vipers’ midfielder Jamil Kalisa executed a cross from the right but it was a routine collection by Kimera in BUL’s goal posts.

The visitor’s defender Fredrick Kigozi got cautioned for a lunge onto Kalisa after 17 minutes for a free-kick blown over by Karim Watambala.

BUL themselves had a distant free-kick from Robert Mukogotya well dealt with Bashir Ssekagya on 23 minutes.

Moments later, midfielder Siraje Ssentamu chipped beautifully for Ibrahim Orit.

Orit dribbled into the BUL goal area before unleashing a venomous shot well handled by Kimera.

Shaban Muhammed in the rains (Credit: John Batanudde)

Elvis Kibaale of BUL picked up the second caution towards half hour mark for unsporting conduct.

It was BUL’s chance moments after 30 minutes when striker Anwar Ntege, on loan from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) had a turn and shoot opportunity but the effort cut across the Vipers’ goal.

The dark nimbus clouds over the Kitende skyline eventually set loose with a torrential pour 10 minutes to the mandatory half time recess and the drizzles continued way into the final stanza.

Nonetheless, play continued as the gallant servants of the beautiful game; players, officials, ball boys and photo journalists endured the harsh call of nature.

Kalisa shot from 35 yards and BUL goalkeeper Kimera remained composed to pocket the effort.

Four minutes to the break, Orit beat three BUL players from the right and he set up Watambala who shot narrowly wide of goal.

BUL’s pacy wide-man, Robert Mukogotya, formerly at URA and Nyamityobora had the last effort of the opening half that staggered off target before the players and officials rushed to the lavish Kitende locker-rooms for the much needed rest and strategies to plot for the second half.

Paul Mucurezi was replaced in Kalisa’s slot as second half kicked off.

Two minutes into the second stanza, Siraje chipped for another Sentamu entity,  Yunus who headed straight to goalkeeper Kimera.

On the 50th minute mark, Vipers marauding right back Paul Willa crossed from the right but the BUL captain and central defender Walter Ochora was equal to the task with a powerful headed clearance.

Yunus Sentamu and Paul Mucureezi plan a free-kick. Mucureezi missed target narrowly (Credit: John Batanudde)

Mucureezi got involved in the thick of action after well planned free-kick with Sentamu missed target by inches.

Hard tackling midfielder Siraje Ssentamu got cautioned by FIFA referee Ali Sabilla for a late challenge on Elvis Kibaale after 52 minutes.

Muhammed Shaban wasted an opportunity to give the home side the lead when he poked the ball wide with goalkeeper to beat.

Shaban Muhammed chest controls the ball (Credit: John Batanudde)

Meanwhile, BUL had a third player, Ramadhan Dudu booked for protesting to the referee.

By the hour mark, Vipers had grown desperate and impatient. Willa shot way off target from 40 yards.

BUL technical team that has former Uganda Cranes midfielder Dan Mubiru and Arthur Kyesmira made a change in the 63rd minute.

Defender Jimmy Kulaba took over Dudu’s place, a cautious change since the latter had been booked.

Ramadhan Dudu and Shaban Muhammed fight for possession (Credit: John Batanudde)

On the other hand, Fred Kajoba Kisitu, at Vipers was involved in a double substitution.

Towering Congolese striker Ceaser Manzoki took over Muhammed Shaban’s place and dreadlocked diminutive forward Daniel Muzeyi Sserunkuma replaced a casual Watambala.

Watambala’s reaction as he headed to the dug-out visibly portrayed he still yearned to serve in the treasured red Vipers’ shirt.

Three minutes later, Bul introduced Martin Aprem, a former Vipers academy player for Esenu in their second change on the chilly evening.

Vipers remained dominant and soul searching.

Robert Mukogotya chest controls the ball (Credit: John Batanudde)

With 20 minutes to play, Orit’s initial effort towards goal was blocked by BUL captain Ochora.

Rebound by Willa flew miles wide across the goal.

Moments later, Mucureezi’s shot from 30 yards razes off the cross bar.

On the rebound, Manzoki was denied by his heavy touch on the ball as the BUL goalkeeper quickly collected the ball

With a quarter an hour to play, Vipers introduced midfielder David Bagoole for  Orit.

The break through moment arrived with 6 minutes to play when Mucureezi dribbled to the by-line on the right flank, he then executed a pin point delivery that a well stationed Sentamu nodded home for the back of the net.

The restricted number of fans in the stands cheered wildly as Sentamu and group raced towards corner flag for the celebrations well deserved.

At this moment, it was done and dusted. Vipers only needed to defend gallantly for the three points in the pouch were visible.

Disan Galiwango tackles Robert Mukongotya (Credit: John Batanudde)

Left back Dissan Galiwango was stretchered out with a knock towards the lower abdomen and former Busoga United defender Livingstone “C4” Mulondo took over his place.

Meanwhile, BUL also called for a late-late change when Simon Peter Oketch replaced Richard Wandyaka.

Vipers earned their 6th victory of the 2020-21 campaign when referee Sabilla blew for full time to maintain their 2 point’s lead at the summit of the table standings.

Consequently, the defeat pasted more concerns for BUL upon their 6th loss of the season in 9 matches, the third consecutive defeat following slips to Police (2-0), Express (4-0) and the latest dip.

This leaves the Jinja based club owned by BIDCO Group of Companies languishing on the fringes of relegation with just 7 points off 9 matches.

Defender Asiku was man of the match after Yunus Sentamu turned down the accolade funded by beer manufacturers, Uganda Breweries under the Pilsner brand contrary to his Muslim religious sect beliefs.

Bashir Asiku shows off the man of the match placard (Credit: Vipers SC Media)

During the post-match interviews, BUL assistant coach Dan Mubiru cited positives despite the away loss, pointing to improvements from the previous game where they lost 4-0 at home to Express.

“We played much better against Vipers despite losing than we played at home when we fell 4-0 to Express. We keep improving and I believe by the next match (against MYDA at home), the players will fully recollect themselves” Mubiru, a former Uganda Cranes, Police, URA and SC Villa workaholic midfielder stated.

BUL head coach Arthur Kyesimira encourages the players during the game at St Mary’s (Credit: John Batanudde)

His counterpart, Fred Kajoba Kisitu at Vipers hailed praise on the Vipers’ players for the commitment, patience and character before the goal arrived.

He immediately set the focus and preparations towards the next match, away to Onduparaka at the rebranded AbaBet Green Light Stadium this coming Saturday.

“We created so many chances and we were waiting for the moment. Football is played for 90 minutes plus added time. I thank the players for the right character and spirit. The goal scorer (Yunus Sentamu) is a special player. We changed him from forward to midfield in the closing stages but still worked hard. We now have to concentrate and plan for the away match against Onduparaka in Arua” Kajoba who won the league title with Vipers in the COVID-19 marred 2019-20 season disclosed.

Meanwhile, match day 9 of the Uganda Premier League continues on Wednesday with three games.

Win-less Kitara takes on URA at Kavumba Recreational ground in Wakiso, UPDF is home to Mbarara City in Bombo and Police will take on Onduparaka at the MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo in the heart of the capital city, Kampala.

Team Line Ups:

Vipers XI Vs BUL: Bashir Ssekagya (19), Paul Willa (15), Dissan Galiwango (3), Halid Lwaliwa (21 – Captain), Bashir Ssekagya (5), Siraje Ssentamu (6), Jamil Kalisa (8), Karim Watambala (25), Ibrahim Orit (7), Muhammed Shaban (28), Yunus Ssentamu (12)


46’ Paul Mucurezi ON, Jamil Kalisa OFF

63’ Ceaser Manzoki ON, Muhammed Shaban OFF

63’ Daniel Sserunkuma ON, Karim Watambala OFF

75’ David Bagoole ON, Ibrahim Orit OFF

88’ Livingstone Mulondo ON, Dissan Galiwango OFF (Injury)

Subs Not Used: Fabien Mutombora (1 – GK), Musa Ssali (32)

BUL XI: Abdul Kimera (28), Aggrey Madoi (03), Fredrick Kigozi (07), Ramadan Dudu (12), Walter Ochora (05 – Captain), Godfrey Akol (06), Elvis Kibaale (30), Robert Mukongotya (21), Richard Wandyaka (13), Musa Esenu (20), Anwar Ntege (26)


63’ Jimmy Kulaba ON, Ramadan Dudu OFF

66’ Martin Aprem ON, Musa Esenu OFF

89’ Simon Peter Oketch ON, Richard Wandyaka OFF

Subs Not Used: Sanon Mulabi (GK) (23), Fredson Gwoto (04), Hamis Tibita (14), Ibrahim Mugulusi (08)

Match Officials:

  • Referee: Ali Sabilla Chelengat
  • First Assistant: Dick Okello
  • Second Assistant: Tonny Agir
  • Fourth Official: Steven Kimayo
  • Referee Assessor: Khalifan Kanakulya

Other Matches:

Wednesday, 24th February 2021:

  • UPDF Vs Mbarara City (4 PM) – Bombo Military Barracks Grounds, Bombo
  • Police Vs Onduparaka (4 PM) – MTN Omondi Stadium, Lugogo
  • Kitara Vs URA (4 PM) – Kavumba Recreation Ground, Wakiso

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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