12 December 2017

Uganda: A Year Dominated By Double Winners KCCA

Kampala — It is almost impossible to write anything Ugandan football today without mentioning KCCA anywhere, somewhere. From national team action, through underage competitions to club football, Mike Mutebi's men have rightly earned the mileage they enjoy on all media spheres.

KCCA, Sserunkuma dominate.

Like they did in 2016 - winning the title ahead of Vipers by four points, the now 12-time Uganda Premier League (UPL) champions repeated the feat this year, pipping arch rivals SC Villa to the gong by eight points.

With a budget bigger than anyone else thanks to the Authority and sponsors, players falling over themelves to play at the Lugogo side, and some fairly decent management both administratively and on the technical bench, KCCA tore through the field to the finish line.

In a season where they also won the Uganda Cup to confirm their first ever double, and entered history books as the first domestic club to reach the group stages of the Confederation Cup, Geoffrey Sserunkuma sparked and Muzamiru Mutyaba switched on.

Mutyaba scored six times and contributed eight assists as KCCA won the league title last season while Sserunkuma - also the club's MVP - scored a league high 21 goals and 32 in all competitions.

SC Villa wait stretches on

For a side that finished fourth and seven points behind eventual champions KCCA in 2016, SC Villa's second place finish this year behind the same winners - could be counted as progress.

There was also marked improvement in points garnered from 50 the previous campaign to 58, only that KCCA also stepped up from 57 to 66 to continue Villa's long wait for the Jogoos first league title since 2004.

Emmanuel Okwi scored 10 of Villa's 46 goals despite playing only 12 matches. The 16-time record champions are, however, on course to clawing back the lost glory. But they have to keep the distance from KCCA until May next year.

Villa lead standings for the 2017/18 season by five points at 25 after 13 matches played. Clearly, a long way to go!

Sponsorships continue

This year also saw increased sponsorship football generally - Airtel's new four-year deal with Fufa worth Shs10b coming to mind. But it is the revenues coming to clubs that created some excitement in the league.

The most recent one is a Shs300m two-year deal between Vipers and Dfcu Bank. This deal with Dfcu brought the amount in sponsorships coming to Vipers to a total of Shs1.4b.

The Venons first major break in sponsorships came late last year when they signed a Shs632m deal with Hima Cement. They followed that with a Shs500m pact with steel manufacturers Roofings Limited early this year.

KCCA, who are getting Shs1.29b from MTN for three years, also extended their Startimes partnership to 2021, with Shs3.2b being given in exchange for the Philip Omondi Stadium naming rights. Sponsorship money coming to KCCA is just over Shs4b.

Newcomers in topflight football, Mbarara City have not been left behind. They scooped a Shs200m deal with Top Bet, while Onduparaka, who most recently partnered with MTN on a one-year Shs390m deal, renewed their business treaty with Betway worth Shs600m - up from Shs180m.

Paidha's Cup fairy-tale

One would have argued that Paidha had it easy en route to the final of the 2017 Uganda Cup. Yes they edged Sadolin Paints 3-2 to make the final but Hussein Kheri's boys were also responsible for then defending champions, Vipers early exit. KCCA did dispatch the West Nilers in the final for Mike Mutebi's men to confirm the club's first ever double but take nothing away from Paidha's fairy-tale.

This was the second successive year a team from the lower division were reaching the Uganda Cup final. Onduparaka lost to Vipers in last year's final on the eve of starting their new life in topflight football.

Onyebuchi misfortune

This year was also a stark reminder that we continue to flirt with calamity when it comes to the medical preparedness in our football and sport in general.

Forty eight minutes into Express versus Proline Uganda Premier League (UPL) match on March 19 at Wankulukuku and Red Eagles defender Vincent Onyebuchi suffers a fracture. Medical check? No ambulance.

It took a fan to rush the player in his car to a medical facility. There, however, has since been some shift, with most clubs now forging partnerships with hospitals and clinics to avail ambulances during matches.

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