We continue the 2012/2013 Football League season preview as the title race looks as though it is going to be tighter than before.
In this second part, my focus will be on three clubs with relatively low ambitions but which can either punch above their weight or fall into oblivion.
Mukura Victory Sport: Can they replicate last season’s form?
Despite losing the Agaciro final to Rayon Sport last weekend, I’m tipping Mukura to be in the mix for the top four finish—winning the league title would be a long shot even with last season’s third place finish still fresh in memory.
No one had even considered the Huye based club to finish in a decent third spot last season, but they did and the biggest challenge for them will be to try and repeat that feat or even better it.
Now that Godfrey Okoko, who led them to a surprise third place, was snapped by La Jeunesse, new coach Emmanuel Ruremesha has a lot of home work to do in the upcoming season.
He has been given a huge responsibility and I think he needs to thrive on what his predecessor built, if her can manage to do that, Mukura will be very difficult to beat.
The heat is on, and the worst-case scenario is when the team doesn’t perform like they did last season—Ruremesha will be sacked before the end of his two-year contract. He has a good squad, and players capable of playing with flair.
The transfer widow has seen them gambling with players from other clubs. The good news is that they still have key players from last season including Gabrielle Mugabo, who was wanted by Police FC, Dyaldote Kalisa, wanted by Kiyovu, and Damascene Habimana.
Otherwise could they be a one-season wonder team that doesn’t have quite enough to stay at the top, and then fall back to where they came?
Musanze: Mid table will be a great achievement
It’s not been great transfer window for the Northern Province side: Having been promoted from the second division as champions, I cannot just blame them for not dreaming big. Staying in the top half of the national league is very expensive and being relegated can gravely harm club wealth.
The reasons are simple, when a club reaches the ‘Promised Land’ (read top flight League), they tend to buy exclusively and most times buy expensive players on big contracts.
Being back in the top flight division means they have a lot of work to do, to avoid relegation. Does head coach Hussein Barack have the tactical nous to stay afloat next season? Yes and he is showing that. You can understand why he stormed the transfer widow; it is a system he knows well.
New signings Bebeto is a good player, with immense experience, he has played for big clubs, in addition to Omar Hitimana from Express FC Uganda, Charles Kawuma, Alimansi Kadogo both from Police FC, Jean Shyaka, Rodriguez Murengezi and Egide Chai and left back Simon Nyamugenda all from SC Kiyovu.
Such experienced veterans can take the club one step further if integrated with some youth.
Espoir: Avoiding the drop will be top priority
Well known for playing rock-bottom, their immediate comeback to the top flight division without thrusting a ball in the second tier after Nyanza withdrew from the league provides, the initial talking point of what they promise funs to be at a tight race for the top prize.
Off-course they don’t hope to win the Primus League not even taking it by shock, nevertheless they need to stay in. No disrespect to the Rusizi-based team, but I rate them as one of the weakest this season despite the fact that anything can happen in football.
Head coach Hamis ‘Kishi’ Sogonya has to battle for survival. In the transfer market, Espoir looked like a shop you thought had closed down years ago, lossing good players.
Kishi knows, the club’s destiny is in his own hands, that’s why he needs extra strength/ know-how from new players like ex- Amavubi veteran striker Said Abed Makasi, midfielder Mbanyi Ndayisenga, defender Aimable ‘Mambo’ Rucogoza from Rayon Sport and striker Theoneste Muhayimana from Kiyovu.
Two issues will be decided on the final day of 2012/2013 Primus League, fight for survival and then get scenes of celebrations or be condemned to relegation in body bags since you won’t be getting any favours. Safe in his knowledge, Kishi understands better.