One of Uganda Premier League’s most enthralling rivalries will be re-ignited on Thursday when KCCA face SC Villa at the StarTimes Satdium.
The fixture couldn’t come at a better time when both teams are neck to neck with the Jogoos a game and four points above the reigning champions.
A win could lift the hosts to within a point of the Jogoos while SC Villa need to get all three points to keep the gap at the summit to four points.
The outcome of the match could come down to where the game is won and lost on the pitch and here we take a look at the 6 key personal battles to keep an eye out for during the game:
1. Muhammad Shaban Vs Bernard Muwanga
SC Villa have the meanest defence in the league, conceding just six goals thus far this campaign.
Bernard Muwanga and company are likely to face the lethal and fast Muhammad Shaban on Thursday in what will be arguably their biggest test so far away from home.
How Muwanga contains the fast paced Shaban will be vital if SC Villa are to leave Lugogo unscathed.
2. Derrick Nsibambi Vs Henry Katongole
Nsibambi never disappoints against any kind of defender but Katongole has done well to keep him at bay in the previous two meetings.
The striker will however be eager to prove his goal scoring instincts just like he did against CNaPS Sport in the CAF Champions League on Saturday.
He will be coming up against a seemingly underrated Katongole, who never disappoints.
3. Allan Okello Vs Nicholas Kasozi
Okello is regarded highly as one of the most creative players in the league but has never replicated that form on his debut against Onduparaka last season.
He has blown hot and cold in big games including last season’s encounter in Masaka but this encounter provides chance for him to prove his doubters wrong.
On the other hand, SC Villa August signing Nicholas Kasozi will be assigned with the task of keeping Okello away from serious involvement on the ball. The former Synergy midfielder has been quite a revelation since his move to Villa Park and has the ability to close down opponents at will.
This battle will be a highly contested one in midfield considering the form and talent possessed by both players.
4. Mustafa Kizza Vs Godfrey Lwesibawa
Lwesibawa has been one of SC Villa’s stand out players since last season and proved yet again in the reverse fixture that he still has what it takes to beat his men.
The orthodox winger has pace and direct runs but comes up against arguably the fast rising left back at the moment in Mustafa Kizza.
The youngster is known for his technique on the ball and although defensively susceptible, this battle will be nothing short of intriguing to say the least.
5. Filbert Obenchan Vs Simon Sserunkuma
With Martin Kizza set to miss out on the clash against KCCA due to suspension, the onus will be on Sserunkuma to deliver in one of their biggest games of the season at a crucial time for both him and the club.
He has blown hot and cold since returning to Villa Park but has always enjoyed playing against the Kasasiro wherever he has met them.
Sserunkuma will however not find it easy against an establishing defender in Obenchan.
The youngster has been one of KCCA’s best defenders so far, thanks to his blistering pace and physicality. There are very few players who can give him a real run for his money in the league and Sserunkuma could easily be on top of that list.
This battle on the flanks will be heated and is definitely one to keep an eye out for.
6. Isaac Kirabira Vs Allan Kyambadde
Kirabira has been the unsung hero wherever he has been played but his calmness, positional sense and ability to intercept play has never been in question.
He was class above the rest in Madagascar and was arguably KCCA’s best player in Masaka in the reverse fixture.
The diminutive midfield Picasso comes up against a man who gave him torrid time until that bad tackle that saw him off – Allan Kyambadde.
Kyambadde has been stamping his class for SC Villa ever since he joined.
He set the ball rolling in the first leg with a contender for goal of the season and if allowed as much space at Lugogo, he will be keen to punish them again.
The Ugandan international would be severely tested against Kirabira at a less expansive astro turf pitch
Kirabira loves to knock off some slow passes and then go on a sudden spree of quick passes to his forwards.