(Picture courtesy of Bright Stars FC)
It was a match on which a draw was written all over prior to kick off. The last 2 Previous league encounters between the two teams saw them draw 0-0 and 1-1 home and away.
Well aware of what Bright stars had in store for him, Vipers’ tactician Miguel Duarte named a cautiously sensitive side opting to use 2 defensive minded midfielders in Taddeo Lwanga and Tom Masiko with Brian Nkuubi scheming ahead of them in a diamond formation.
Young striker Steven Mukwala was named as a target man with Ashraf Mandela and Erisa Ssekisambu completing the 3 man attack.
Fred Kajoba handed a debuts to new Captain Nelson Senkatuka up front, Akram Kakembo, Farouk Kawooya, and veteran goal keeper Hamza Muwonge was also accorded a chance to face his former employers.
Striker Nelson Ssenkatuka was handed his debut
Both Miguel and Kajoba’s tactical plans were interrupted by referee Denis Batte who misjudged Jimmy Kakooza’s challenge on Erisa Sekisambu that seemed to warrant a booking for a direct send off in the 13th minute of the first period.
Immediately in the commencement of the 2nd half, Vipers made a double substitution replacing a fairly ineffective pair of Steven Mukwala and Ashraf Mandela for Tonny Odur and Pius Wangi to exert more pressure on the hosts but they had all decided to go behind the ball and defended for the entire 2nd half.
Taddeo Lwanga also made his Vipers debut against Bright stars
Hamza Muwonge and defender Innocent Asiimwe were Bright Stars’ heroes of the day with Muwonge in particular making 3 point black saves to deny the Visitors. Nelson Ssenkatuka was withdrawn for a more physical Joshua Kawaddwa who almost won it for Bright stars in the late minutes of the game.
That’s how the match ended in a barren stalemate and a positive Kajoba couldn’t hide his relief after managing to snap up a draw in a match that looked out of hand. He said,
“I congratulate my players for having managed to resist the pressure of playing with a man down, they did a tremendous job and I am proud of them, most of the are new in our set up but they put up a professional display”.
“We were unlucky to go down to an insincere red card which even my mate the Vipers coach conceded it was a worthy red but that is football, we shall take that point. “
His opposite number, the Vipers coach Miguel Duarte remains optimistic despite the draw but he was quick to blame the failure to win on the poor condition of the playing surface at the Champions Stadium. He said,
“I am of course disappointed for we were not able to win the match but now is not the time to lament but to take the positives and move on, we have played at a very bad pitch which could not permit our possession game”.
“The referee made 2 errors in the first half that impacted the game, one is the red card to the opponents which prompted them to commit 10 men behind the ball, and another one was the decision not to award us a penalty when our player was fouled in the box”.
Vipers will play hosts to BUL FC on Saturday the 16th whereas Bright Stars will travel to Kavumba and play Soana FC on the same date.