Log in
Updated minutes ago

Behind Kitara FC's rise

Kitara FC players train

Kitara FC players train

Kitara FC took the table leadership of the Uganda Premier League (UPL) from Bul FC, whose game against SC Villa, earlier scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed.

The 1-0 win means that Kitara will remain atop the UPL standings for some time, depending on when Bul, Vipers, and Villa, their closest rivals play their games in hand. However, unlike the proverbial elephant on top of the tree circumstances, that have often left many wondering how it got there, for Kitara, their rise has been meteoric for many reasons.

Last Friday, Kitara travelled to Lugogo in their second league game of the season under the lights and won 1-0 against KCCA FC. It was an upset, considering how KCCA had become of late, winning three and drawing one of their last four games at home.

Yet, as it turned out, the Masindi team showed great resolve and character in putting to bed the 13-time champions, courtesy of a Dennis Omedi strike. Incidentally, it was not the first time this season that Kitara were upsetting the apple cut. On the opening day of this 2023/24 season, Kitara beat record champions Villa 1-2 in Wankulukuku stadium.

In addition, they went to Lugazi and squared off evenly with the four-time champions URA FC, in a 2-2 draw. In fact, had it not been for a wrong refereeing call in Kitende, Kitara should have walked away with a 2-2 draw from there. Instead, it was a 2-1 defeat.

Otherwise, the fact that going into the Wednesday game, Kitara were on 36 points, two behind leaders Bul, and remain the highest-scoring team in the UPL with 34 goals in 19 games, is a huge paradigm shift from the Kitara of the 2020/21 season.

“Indeed, it is a totally different team we have now,” Rogers Byamukama, a patron of Kitara, said. He continued that the sea change at Kitara is a result of better club management, and a loyal fan base.

Byamukama explained: “In our first season in the UPL, 2020/21, we played our home games away from home. We were at the Kavumba recreation ground, instead. It was Covid-19 time and we did not have fans in the stadium, to create the vibe and the atmosphere to morale- boost a new and young team as we were.”

Inevitably, the team suffered. Kitara only collected 13 points from 27 games played that season, and finished bottom of the log in number sixteen. But also, because of Covid-19, it was hard to fundraise, which made it difficult to pay the team in time, let alone motivate them.

TITLE CONVERSATION

Today, Kitara has arguably the biggest travelling party of fans for away games. This has equally resonated well, when they are at home, too. Kitara’s average gate collection is Shs 20 million.

Yet, when they hosted KCCA in the first round, they raised Shs 38 million. Not many clubs in the UPL can match that, let alone their drive to the top, which may be hard to stop.

Coach Brian Ssenyondo has consistently dismissed suggestions that they are in the title conversation. He has desisted from putting his players under pressure, and instead opted to take one game at a time.

But one thing about the youthful Ssenyondo, is that he has shown full control of the team, and with in-form players such as Omedi, Kitara are more tenacious.

The experience of Paul Mucureezi, a multiple league winner, and Arthur Kiggundu, who helped Express win it in 2021, Kitara has every reason to believe they can be champions. But, in the meantime, they will be planning for Villa, whom they meet in the Stanbic Uganda Cup round of 16 in March.

Comments are now closed for this entry