The 2017/18 Uganda Premier League season climaxed in dramatic fashion with Vipers Sports Club as the champions, claiming their third championship since 2010 and 2015.
It was a sad tale for debutants Masavu, Proline and army outfit Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) who got relegated, albeit on the final day of the season.
Throughout the gruelling course of the league, there were outstanding personalities who had consistent displays week in, week out and their personal performances had a convincing and overall impact onto their respective clubs.
Here is the out-look for the best UPL XI of Kawowo Sports’ David Isabirye in a 4-1-3-2 format of play.
Nicholas Sebwato (Onduparaka F.C):
Nicholas Ssebwato is a typical justification of old wine in a new bottle well told tale.
Since relocating to Onduparaka over a season ago, Ssebwato’s form, command and authority in goal has never remained the same.
An overwhelming 18 clean sheets to his name with darling match winning saves indeed calls for his slot on the team of the season as the best goalkeeper.
Of course, he scored from the spot and has been instrumental in conserving Onduparaka’s clean run at the Green Light Stadium.
Easily beats two other top performers in the season – Maroons Ashadu Bugembe (16 clean sheets) and Samson Kirya of Sports Club Villa Jogoo.
Aggrey Kirya (Onduparaka F.C):
Right backs are born to rove, huff and hiss. Aggrey Kirya has time immemorial excelled at that.
Full of energy and intelligence, Kirya is another Onduparaka player who has steadily won over the hearts for many people in the football mad West Nile region.
A good measure defensively and offensively as he serves right the purpose of a right back with customary runs to assist both the defenders and attackers.
His sweet diagonal odd ball out of defence often decimated by the short crispy wall passes easily patch up for the fast improving ball dribbling abilities.
Comes top of Vipers’ captain Nico Wakiro Wadada, Joseph Nsubuga (Sports Club Villa Jogoo), BUL’s Umar Mukobe as well as Police’s Paul Willa.
Mustafa Kizza (KCCA FC):
Mustafa Kizza is a lively teenager who has steadily grown in confidence and stature at KCCA.
Like the right back Kirya, Kizza’s ability to assist in the defence and attack chores with equal measure elevate him above the ordinary.
The Uganda U-20 star has mastered the diagonal ball, strong in the air and he is famous for that sweet cross.
Little wonder therefore, he rates highly on the goal assist rooster.
Timothy Denis Awany (KCCA FC):
Timothy Denis Awany is as solid as a famous Nyero rocks.
A team leader who has skippered KCCA this season, Awany has improved for the better in the usage of the ball on the feet and head.
He is deserves a slot on the team of the season for his composure and ability to clear the dirt away from defence as he plays it clean at the back throughout the match.
Livingstone “C4” Mulondo (Kirinya-Jinja S.S):
He has been one of the reasons Kirinya-Jinja S.S has been solid and firm at the back line.
Mulondo, who is christened C4 is organized and has command of the back.
Easily comes ahead of Vipers’ Geofrey Wasswa given the experience he has had and the overall impact he has on the team.
Nicholas Kasozi (Sports Club Villa Jogoo):
A league debutant, Kasozi has surprised many with his confidence, positional awareness and composure while in action.
The former Synergy player is a darling to watch in the mid-field. Easily comes ahead of Vipers’ Tadeo Lwanga for his “clean” display as he dispossesses the opposition.
Kasozi is a great passer of the ball in short and long ranges.
Milton Karisa (Vipers Sports Club):
Karisa is a workaholic and has improved for the better since the BUL days.
He has singlehandedly won games for team Vipers at St Mary’s Kitende and away.
This term, Karisa polished on the dribbling abilities, that cross as well as the final ball at goal.
This literally explains the goal tally he has had in the season past.
Good team player for the winning side – Vipers Sports Club.
Allan Okello (KCCA FC):
Allan Okello is a genius. Pint sized but very intelligent with a fierce shot.
After completing his S6 studies at Kibuli S.S, Okello quickly settled in at KCCA this season alongside another teenager Julius Poloto.
He has been useful for KCCA on the set pieces, famous drowning SC Villa Jogoo at Lugogo as well as engaging in inter-play with the team-mates.
Nelson Senkatuka (Bright Stars FC):
When Nelson Senkatuka left Proline for Bright Stars at the start of the season, few people justified the move.
Deep in my heart, I remained optimistic he would deliver the goods home given the trust from the head coach Fred Kajoba, the playing team and confidence vested within the player himself.
He took upon the responsibilities with open hands. He not only captained the side throughout the season, but was also their best player and top scorer.
Full of energy and life during a football game, Senkatuka is also a team player.
Of course, the 15 goals as a striker was a good reward having missed the climax of the season when he prepared to travel to Japan and Belgium for trial stints.
A good season for the former KCCA and Proline player.
Daniel Muzeyi Sserunkuma (Vipers Sports Club):
Daniel Muzeyi Sserunkuma played the first part of the season at Express before switching allegiance to Vipers in the January 2018 window.
The diminutive albeit diligent and intelligent center forward scored for fun at either clubs.
A hat-trick against Express in May shot up his goal tally drastically aloft the rest of the goal scorers.
He was also hardworking on the field of play for the champion side.
Martin Kizza (Sports Club Villa):
At one stage in the season, Martin Kizza almost carried the weight of Sports Club Villa Jogoo on his shoulders.
Kizza’s quick turn of pace, dribbles, pin-point crosses, cut backs, shots at goal and the final rewards – goals defined him at SC Villa Jogoo this season.
He finished as the Jogoos’ best player and top scorer in the league.
Ashadu Bugembe (Goalkeeper, Maroons), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Vipers), Viane Ssekajugo (Onduparaka), Godfrey Akol (Kirinya-Jinja S.S), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers), Fred Amaku (Kirinya-Jinja S.S), Michael Birungi (Express), Paul Willa (Police), Henry Katongole (SC Villa Jogoo), Brian Enzema (Bright Stars), Emmanuel Ibe Obinna (Mbarara City), Julius Poloto (KCCA)
Miguel Daurte Da Costa (Vipers):
The Portuguese national led Vipers to their third UPL championship.
He motivated the team with psychological pep talks, he organized the side well technically and tactically and played his cards well.
Having withered down the storm when pressure built onto him in the early stages of the season, Da Costa returned solid in the second round although he missed four games on the touchline because of a ban from the FUFA Disciplinary panel.
Winning the championship with Vipers clearly puts him above Maroons’ Asaph Mwabaze, Kirinya-Jinja S.S’ Charles Ayiekoh Lukula and KCCA’s Mike Hillary Mutebi.