Fallen giants SC Villa seek to end 13-year wait, KCCA FC defiant
Uganda's most decorated team Sports Club Villa have vowed to return to winning ways after a 13-year title wait, with coach Wasswa Bbbosa confident that they can end the jinx and win the Premier League.
The Jogoos currently top the table with 40 points, four above defending champions KCCA FC who have however played two games fewer than their rivals.
SC Villa last won the Premier League title in 2004 under Serbian coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic, who went onto success with the Uganda national side, but have watched on as their rivals have enjoyed success in the interim.
"We are well prepared mentality and on the pitch to absorb the pressure from our close rivals KCCA FC and SC Vipers going into the final stretch," Bbosa told KweséESPN.
"[My players] are very motivated, and club president Ben Misagga and his team are rewarding them well for every match won besides their monthly pay."
After defeating tricky Onduparaka FC 1-0 last weekend to become the first team to take all three points in Arua, Bbosa appears primed to build on his previous success, having won the title as assistant to Sam Ssimbwa with Express FC in 2011/2012.
"I have come a long way as a coach and now deserve to win the league trophy with a big club like SC Villa," he added. "My target as a coach is to win it, we've topped the table for most of the season and remain focused on making the SC Villa fans happy."
SC Villa only have to face SC Vipers of the division's top teams, but has vowed not to let his team underestimate their remaining opponents.
However, reigning champions KCCA FC still have their destiny in their own hands, and coach Mike Mutebi is confident that his side can overhaul Villa.
"The league is a marathon and anything can still happen," he told KweséESPN. "My target remains to retain the league.
"After winning the trophy for the last two seasons we remain hungry to retain it," he continued, "but we need to keep trying to balance with the CAF Champions league, Uganda Cup and Premier League matches."
KCCA FC are second on the log with 36 points from 18 games played and, like Villa, have lost just two matches.
Down in third place, 2015 champions SC Vipers are confident that the league remains a three-horse race. They are four points off the leaders with a game in hand, but following the addition of Gor Mahia's Dan Sserunkuma, have the firepower to clinch top spot.
"Our target this season is to win one of the trophies, either the League or Uganda Cup, because we also want to play in the continent," Vipers spokesman Abdul Wasike told KweséESPN. "We started the first round on wrong footing, but with more planning we are getting the results now."
At the other end of the table, another of the nation's traditional heavyweights are facing a trickier challenge between now and the season's end.
Express FC are one of Uganda's oldest and most successful teams, but they sit down in 14th, having won just five of their 20 matches so far.
The Red Eagles recruited George Nsimbe, one of Uganda's most respected coaches, to try and rescue them on Monday, and a 4-0 victory over Soana FC on Tuesday bodes well for their hopes of beating the drop.
With KCCA FC concentrating on continental football this weekend as they face Ethiopia's Saint George in the CAF Champions League, Villa and Vipers have the opportunity to heap pressure on their rivals.
Villa host Masavu FC at the Masaka Recreation Ground on Friday, while SC Vipers visit eighth-placed URA FC at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.