Makerere Impis had a dream start to their 2023 premier league campaign. An unexpected five-match unbeaten run had them sitting in second place before they faced the perennial title challengers; Heathens, Kobs, and Black Pirates.
On Wednesday, in the final matchday of the first round, they suffered a fourth straight loss, including one against Buffaloes who hit them when they were already down, as their invincibility waned.
Kobs put Impis to the sword by 66-03 at Makerere which saw them drop to sixth place on the log for the first time this season.
However, despite the loss whose margin was expected, Impis made some right decisions at the right time. For player load management and building squad depth.
In making eleven changes to their starting XV, Impis achieved two things. First, their key players enjoyed some much-needed rest ahead of the second round, and second, their fringe players got some game time under their belts.
Godfrey Ayebare, Amos Asiimire, Emmanuel Ssedyabane, Pius Mpoza, Henry Nsekuye, Kennedy Muhumuza, and Roy Kizito had all played without much rest, if any, since last year’s Sevens Series. On the other hand, the likes of Joshua Nkrumah, Barnabas Rubagumya, Martin Odong, Brian Kizito, Jonathan Magezi, Joel Ddembe, and Allan Kyagulanyi had barely featured for the club.
One match is certainly not enough to fit all the pieces in the jigsaw puzzle but when every player has had some rest off the pitch and some minutes on the pitch too, the compound interest earned off such an investment can propel Impis to the top where they want to be.
Thus, I would not be surprised if a similar team is named for the next match this Saturday – home against Heathens – to start the second round. Then back to full strength for the Makerere Derby the following weekend and the home run to the end of the season.
Full Matchday Nine Results:
- Impis 03-66 Kobs
- Rhinos 14-20 Hippos
- Rams 13-15 Buffaloes
- Walukuba 13-25 Pirates
- Mongers 15-53 Heathens