Bright Stars are up and running in the Azam Uganda Premier League thanks to a deserved 1-0 away win over debutants The Saints at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.
Vice-captain Allan Male Robert grabbed the winner with Uganda Cranes player Mathias Kigonya making two great saves in either half of the game.
Head coach Fred Kajoba made four changes to the starting XI which drew 1-1 at home against Express F.C with striker Joshua Kawadwa, midfielders Gerald Bagole and Allan Male Robert and captain Bernard Muwangaall coming in for Antony Bongoole, Jimmy Lule, Lawerence Bajja and Mathias Waiswa. Muwanga who partnered with new kid on the block Abdulnoor Kanana in central defence, was playing is first league game this season after recovering from a kne injury he picked up in the game against Simba last season at Champions Stadium in Mwererwe.
Bright Stars made a leisurely start to the proceedings and almost fell to the hosts in the fifth minute only to be saved by Julius Malimungu’s less concentration in front of goal with only keeper Mathias Kigonya to beat.
From that shocker the visitors showed some glimpses of their fluent best in the 10 minutes that followed in the half but gave it away particularly in the middle of the park for the entire remaining half.
A few lively moments of the first half were evident in Baker Lukoya’ loose shot on target in the 10th minute and another goal scoring opportunity by the former Kiira Young player again in the 18th minute but only to be ruled offside by the referee on receiving a beautifully laid pass from Jimmy Kakooza.
Bright Stars also had a penalty appeal waved away by the centre referee in the 22nd minute. Former Sc Villa Captain Isaac Kirabira fouled flying right winger Martin Kivumbi deep into the Saints’ goal keeper’s area.
It’s around this time in the last minutes of the first half that the visitors pressed hard with a number of attempts from Robert Male and Kawadwa.
On the counter, the hosts almost went ahead but thanks to the great game reading from Kigonya who brilliantly kept out Malingumu’s header in the 39th minute.
Bright Stars thereafter gained possession through midfield general Kakooza passing to Kivumbi who eventually laid up a high up the field through pass in to the area which was met by Male deep into stoppage time to head past the Saint’s keeper Richard Angama. .
Despite an encouraging opening second period of the game, which saw Kawadwa, Lukoya, Kanana and Kivumbi all failing to kill off the game from the opportunities that fell their way.
Coach Kajjoba then went for a double change introducing Bongole for Kawandwa and Bajja coming on for the goal scorer Male in the 71st minute.
These changes caused some panic within the Saints defence with Baker Lukoya and Bongole all having chances to extend the visitors’ lead.
In the 83rd minute, Lukoya who had had a fairly good game gave way for Lule a scorer of six goals last season all from direct free kicks.
In the 87th minute, Kakooza made an intelligent run deep from his half creating himself a scoring opportunity but only to awkwardly fall due to his tired legs.
The last minutes of the game were stupendous for both the players and the fans as in the 88th minute Kivumbi failed to tap in a close range ball from Lule.
On the other side, Bright Stars conceded a corner which was met by a brave clearance from defence king pin Muwanga; which sparked off a counter-attack that involved Bajja but only to be let down by Kakooza who on receiving a great pass kicked the ball wide and wild late into added time.
Bright Stars’ Starting XI against The Saints FC
Mathias Kigonya (GK)
Jimmy Kakooza Kacanga
Allan Male Robert – Goal 41st minute
Baker Lukoya (Jimmy Kivumbi Kibirige-83rd)
Kawandwa (Anthony Bongole-26th)
Allan Male Robert – Lawerce Bajja-26th minute.
Baker Lukoya – Jimmy Kivumbi Kibirige 83rd minute.
Kawandwa – Anthony Bongole – 26th minute.