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Shaban the centre of focus as Onduparaka hopes to continue fine record against UPDF

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Onduparaka have never lost on UPDF in the League. (PHOTO/COURTESY)

Uganda Premier League
Onduparaka FC vs UPDF FC
Green Light Stadium
Friday, 15-10-2021 @3pm

Shaban Mohammad is arguably the biggest footballing name the West Nile region.

The striker captained Onduparaka FC back in the days when they became a hot brand in Uganda.

However, four years after leaving the Caterpillars, in 2017, he is back home and set to make his debut on Friday against UPDF FC.

Onduparaka are not the same side they were in 2017 and showed some indications that they may soon head back to the FUFA Big League.

However, they have undertaken a squad overhaul with 14 players leaving and as many coming in, including the prodigal son-Shaban.

A new coach had also been appointed in George Lutalo who is expected to also continue his exploits with the national Women’s football team.

Lutalo’s task is to ensure the Caterpillars move away from the relegation battle they endured for almost the entire 2020/21 season before eventually finishing 12th.

As the eyes in the Green Light focus on Shaban throughout the tile he will be on the pitch, the Onduparaka faithful will also be hoping the result is positive in a season the promises to be a long one for then.

For UPDF, they are also under a new tactician in Brian Ssenyondo following the departure of Kefa Kisala at the back end of last season.

Ssenyondo whose previous top flight experience came at Mbarara City inherits a squad that at some point over achieved last season.

In what was they maiden season back to the top tier, UPDF led the log ast some point before ending the campaign in 8th.

Ssenyondo and a host of his new acquisitions will be tasked with bettering that performance and they head into the season opener knowing just how hard that may be but it is impossible with the quality they possess.

Onduparaka will be without head coach George Lutalo who is with the Crested Cranes preparing for the upcoming AWCON Qualifiers. New Signings Jarieko James and Mansoor Safi Agu will both need to pass a late fitness test as they have been struggling with fitness issues.

UPDF travelled with only 18 players due to licence issues, Dickens Okwir is one of the key players missing.  Goalkeeper Brian Bwete is a doubt for the Army side after sustaining injury in training this week but he travelled with the team.

This will be the sixth meeting between the two sides since 2016. In that period, Onduparaka are yet to lose a contest against the Army side, winning five and drawing once. Onduparaka have won both of their home fixtures against UPDF, scoring five goals in the process. Last season, the two sides faced off once with the Caterpillars winning 1-0 in Bombo.

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