Before and after the 2020/21 Uganda Premier League got underway, a number of players returned from stints abroad to join various local clubs.
From veteran Tonny Mawejje to versatile Denis Iguma, we look assess the performance of each individual player and how they have impacted on their team’s season so far.
Martin Kiiza (Express FC)
The left winger returned to the UPL after a short stint in South Africa where he featured for Free State Stars in the PSL in 2019 and later joined Royal Eagles in the second tier in January 2020 on what was reported to be a two year deal.
Things didn’t go as expected and in April, he returned and joined Express FC, mainly influenced by Wasswa Bbosa with whom he work at Villa.
At Wankulukuku, he has been a mainstay in the attack, contributed a couple of goals and assists and is arguably among the reason the side is still in contention for a double.
Tonny Mawejje (Police FC)
After more than a decade playing abroad, veteran midfield gem returned to the UPL and joined Police FC.
He was instantly handed his preffered jersey 6 and also the captain’s armband.
Mawejje, who made his league debut in early 2000s at Masaka LC, has gone on to perform beyond what many expected.
A mainstay in the Cops midfield whenever fit and had provided stability and leadership in the Police side helping them reach the semi-finals of the Stanbic Uganda Cup and also sixth on the league table.
Murushid Jjuuko (Express FC)
The Sherriff as referred to at Express made up his mind to play in the local league after missing out on active football for over a year after leaving Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca.
In Uganda, he had last played for now defunct SC Victoria University in 2014 before joining Tanzania’s Simba where he spent close to five years.
His presence at Express FC has made them the side with the meanest backline as they lead the league table and also in the semi-finals of the Stanbic Uganda Cup.
A leader at the back who inspires everyone around him and his form has earned him a national team recall.
If the Red Eagles go on to end their trophy drought that dates far back to 2012, a lot of credit will be reserved for the nonsense centre back.
Denis Iguma (KCCA)
After a long injury lay off that required surgery, versatile Iguma moved to KCCA at the start of the season.
Like Jjuuko, Iguma’s had last featured for SC Victoria University in 2014 before he headed to Lebanon where he played for Al Ahed SC and later Bekaa Club.
He was expected to offer the much needed leadership to the Kasasiro Young team but didn’t have as much impact until Morley Byekwaso took over from Mike Mutebi and he became a regular.
Not the best of performances so far given his game intelligence and talent but it was always going to be tough for a player returning from injury to blossom immediately in such a young team.
Kipson Atuheire (Wakiso Giants)
It was in 2013 when Atuheire last played in the local league for URA before his return eight years later.
The former SC Villa forward signed for Wakiso Giants in April this year and has scored some important goals including a winner at Mbarara City that earned the Purple Sharks their first win in the league this season.
He also scored the winner at MYDA and his other goal came in the 2-2 draw with Villa.
Injuries have limited his playing time at the club but for a player, who was out for more than a year after the outbreak of the Coronavirus in India where he featured for Gokulam Kerala FC, three goals winning 7 points for a club isn’t a bad return.
Yunus Sentamu (Vipers SC)
At just 26 years, Sentamu appeared like he had quit the beautiful game when he left Albania’s KF Tirana in 2019.
Lots of clubs wanted his signature but it took until 2021 for him to make a decision signing for his boyhood club, Vipers SC.
The former AS Vita and CS Sfaxien centre forward’s class and goal scoring prowess has instantly been on show scoring 16 goals in the league that keep him on top of the goal scoring charts at the moment.
His form has earned him a recall back to the national team and with such classic performances; it’s only a matter of when not if a bigger club comes calling.
Henry Kisekka (Police FC)
The gangly centre forward signed for the Cops in April this year but it took longer for him to feature due to licensing issues.
He made a dream debut scoring in the 2-2 draw away at SC Villa but his appearances have been cut by injuries that have kept him out of the side.
Nevertheless, his presence has been good for young forwards especially Derrick Kakooza who has admitted to have learnt a lot from him.
Francis Olaki (SC Villa)
After a stint in Botswana, Francis Olaki returned and signed for record champions SC Villa.
He has since been a mainstay in Edward Kaziba side but failed to hit the back of the net but bagged a couple of assists; the most famous one at Vipers SC when his cross was met by Ronald Ssekiganda.