AIRTEL MASAZA CUP TO UPL: An exclusive dissection of players who made an elevation from the 2019 Masaza Cup to the topflight

Ronald Sempala is congratulated by teammates after scoring Ssingo’s opener in the 3-0 drubbing of Ssese in the opening game of the 2019 season. He joined Bright stars this term

SINAN RAJUB SENOGA

The 2017/18 season saw the promotion of Masaza Cup star men Steven Mukwala and Joseph Janjali who were joint top scorers but the two youngsters failed to reciprocate their form for Vipers and UPDF respectively despite the latter showing some moments of brilliance.

2018/19 had more graduates including Brian Kayanja, Steven Munguchi, Jamaldin Buchochera all from Busiro, Derrick Ngobi, Amir Zaake, Lubwama Letti, Jakisa Jerry, Juma Katende, Umar Mihinzi, Charles Musiige and topscorer Jude Semugabi among others but none of them made a telling impact to the UPL save for Kayanja and Ngobi who played in the finals of the Stanbic Uganda Cup with Bright Stars.

With the new rules in place that limit on the number of seasons that a player spends in the tournament, more players have decided to join test the deep waters of Ugandan topflight football.

ANDREW SAMSON KIGOZI
Busiro – Police FC

Kigozi is part of the team that guided Busiro to their first ever Masaza Cup final slated for October 26th at Namboole. He joined the Cops from regional league club Kakiri Town Council but has previously featured for Kiboga Young and Gomba among others.

The budding versatile forward is known for his creative, elegant and agile style of play.

He has featured in all the three games Police FC have played so far this season but has also been on the fringes of the national team recently.

SAMUEL MWAKA
Kyadondo – URA FC

Lanky shot stopper Samuel Mwaka has been an instrumental figure in Kyadondo’s campaign this season. His outstanding exploits propelled him a move to URA where he signed a five year contract to replace the earlier departed Salim Wekiya.

The 22-year old is now the third choice goalkeeper for the tax collectors behind his seniors James Alitho and Alionzi Nafian.

NICHOLAS KABONGE
Gomba – SC Villa

Midfielder Kabonge finally made the long waited move to the topflight league joining SC Villa from record champions Gomba.


He has three SC Villa appearances under his belt so far with his debut coming in the 3-1 victory over Mbarara City at Namboole.


The former Kampala Junior Team – KJT skipper is most remembered for scoring the winning goal as Gomba won their fourth Masaza Cup title in the 2017 final against Ssingo.

RONALD SSEMPALA
Ssingo – Bright Stars

Ssempala was touted as one of the strikers to watch in this year’s edition before making his dream move to Bright Stars.


He managed four goals for the defending champions Ssingo notably the opening goal of tournament in a 3-0 win over Ssese.


Ssempala, signed from Nkambi Coffee, has not been involved in any of the five games Bright Stars have played this season.

RONALD NKONGE
Gomba – Bright Stars

Roving left back Ronald Nkonge also nicknamed “Jjajja Walu” for obvious reasons, joined Bright Stars as an ideal replacement of Dan Birikwalira on a three year contract. He has featured in three of the five Bright Stars games this season.

Nkonge has already set the ball rolling and he is expected to be a hit for Muhammed Kisseka’s side

Nkonge already registered his name on the score sheet once when he came off the bench to score the leveller in a 1-1 draw with Wakiso Giants at Wankulukuku.

RASHID MUHAMMED MUKUNGU
Gomba – Tooro United


Midfielder Rashid Mukungu is a son to KCC legend Rashid Mudin who represented Uganda in the historic 1978 AFCON.


The former St. Mary’s Kitende skipper has been playing for Gomba but is one of the 10 new faces at Tooro United this season. He is yet to make his debut but has only managed to make two bench appearances, one against URA (league) and Proline (Super 8).

MIKIDADI SENYONGA
Busiro – URA FC


From Busiro to URA FC, Senyonga just took up the club’s number 10. shirt on account of his technical abilities.


The immensely talented midfielder inspired Busiro to their maiden final appearance after playing for Ssingo, Gomba and Buddu in the previous campaigns.

Mikidad Ssenyonga is a veteran of the Masaza cup having featured for Buddu, Ssingo, and Gomba

He was officially signed from Kampala Junior Team – KJT on a three year contract and has consequently played in all URA FC league games this season.

PATRICK BAYIGA
Kyadondo – Maroons FC

Bayiga is already a mainstay in Maroons’ central defence since penning a three year deal from Luzira Thunders. The lanky defender has been captaining semi finalists Kyadondo who have been vying for their first final appearance since 2008.


Save for the opening day 3-0 loss to URA, Bayiga has featured in the subsequent fixtures for the Douglas Bamweyana coached side.


IVAN SSERUBIRI
Busiro – URA FC

Just like Senyonga, Sserubiri crossed over to URA FC from Busiro on a three year deal. The 2016 Masaza Cup MVP has been plying his trade with regional league side Free Stars.

The former Buddu and Gomba midfield prospect has so far featured in two league games, against Wakiso Giants and Maroons FC.

MARTIN APREM
Bugerere – BUL FC

Youngster Martin Aprem has been turning out for Bugerere but recently graduated to BUL FC from the club’s junior team. The novice winger was part of the BUL FC junior team that won the 2018-19 Fufa Juniors League but previously played for Vipers and Proline.

Aprem has been assigned with the club’s number 9. shirt but will have to wait a little longer for his senior debut.

DENIS MWEMEZI
Ssese – Vipers SC

Striker Denis Mwemezi announced himself to the Ugandan football fraternity with a debut goal as Vipers overcame Proline 1-0 in the Pilsner Super 8 at Lugogo. Since then, he has featured in all Vipers’ subsequent fixtures despite a stiff competition for starting slots in the club’s offensive department.

Mwemezi currently leads the scorers’ charts with 7 goals and he is likely to scoop the award after his starring contribution for the exciting Ssese team.

He is most likely to emerge as the 2019 Masaza Cup topscorer after netting seven goals for Ssese.

ATENDERE GERIGA
Buddu – Onduparaka

Atendere Geriga made his Onduparaka debut with an assist, a perfectly weighed cross for Bashir Bhetto in a 3-1 loss to KCCA in the Pilsner Super 8.

The ever roving right back has been playing for Buddu who were eliminated on the semi final stage but also for Koboko Raising Stars.

Atendere also set up Ceaser Okhuti who scored the second goal in Onduparaka’s 2-0 league victory over Express at Wankulukuku.

ABDUL KARIM WATAMBALA
Kyaggwe – Vipers SC

Watambala was playing for Kyaggwe before making his Vipers debut in the Pilsner Super 8. The highly rated midfield gem already made a statement scooping man of the match accolades against Proline and Mbarara City in the pre-season tournament.

In Edward Golola, Watambala has a perfect guide and he is touted as one of the best talents to have emerged from St. Mary’s Kitende

He has been an instrumental role in the St. Mary’s Kitende team that won this year’s Copa Coca-Cola and FEASSA games championship this year in Jinja and Arusha respectively.

NAJIB FESALI
Kyaggwe – URA FC

Najib Fesali is one the many signings made by URA FC in the primary transfer window. He is a center back who has been playing for Kyaggwe but previously captained Jinja SSS to a Copa Coca-Cola triumph in 2017.

The highly rated defender is yet to feature for the tax collectors in any competitive game but has recently made bench appearances against Tooro and Kyetume.

STEVEN KAGODA
Kyadondo – Kyetume

Lanky Center back Kagoda has been on the books of Kyadondo but joined new league entrants Kyetume. However, he is yet to feature in any of the games for the Slaughters falling in pecking order behind Jonathan Mugabi and Benon Tahomera.

The 2019 Masaza Cup tournament has also exported players beyond the Ugandan top-flight league boarders. Two players in Mansoor Agu Safi and Seiri Arigumaho moved to Kenya and Tanzania respectively.

MANSOOR AGU SAFI
Buddu – Wazito FC (Kenya)

Mansoor Safi joined Kenyan top-flight side Wazito FC while featuring for Buddu. He is a former student of Kibuli SS and Dynamic SS and an offensive midfielder who can ably operate on either flanks. However, playing time has been hard to come his way with four games into the KPL season.

SEIRI ARIGUMAHO
Kyaggwe – Singida United (Tanzania)

Combative striker Seiri Arigumaho was playing for Kyaggwe but crossed boarders to join Singida United of Tanzania.


He was assigned with shirt number 9. on arrival and became the first Ugandan at the club since the departure of Shafiq Batambuze.


He has in the past played for Hands of Grace, Lugazi Nabugabo now Lugazi Municipal, Ankole Province in Fufa Drum and recently Six O’clock in the Western Regional League.

Kabonge (25), a winner with Gomba is yet to seal a starting place at SC Villa but Ibrahim Kirya is a big fan of his.
Jamaldin Buchochera had a torrid time at BUL but sought refuge at SC Villa
Brian Kayanja is in his second season at Bright stars. He joined from Busiro

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