Who: Arua Hill SC vs Onduparaka FC
Where: Barifa Stadium
When: 2 PM
Saturday – One of the biggest games of the season; the West Nile derby! The rivalry is the stuff of dreams and sure to guarantee a dramatic clash as the caterpillars make the journey across the city to Barifa stadium. Interesting to see how Mbabazi’s side take on Mawa Haruna’s team this season.
The Caterpillars are yet to win a game in the league this season and sit bottom of the table, while Livingstone Mbabazi’s side have not won a match in their last four encounters in the league.
However, this season, the West Nile derby might have lost some of its sheen.
In recent years, Onduparaka have floundered in the wilderness.
Arua Hill SC, meanwhile, has taken rapid strides towards establishing itself as the top team in the region – and perhaps one to reckon with in the league.
Sunday’s game comes at an interesting point in the two teams’ current shape.
Alfred Leku’s departure has ruined the leopard’s front line from a rampaging force of nature that blew apart anyone who dared to stand in its way to a less-fortuned side.
Mawa Haruna, meanwhile, has stoically begun course correction at Greenlight in a manner that hasn’t been spectacular.
Going into Sunday’s game, the Red vs Green battle is colored by intrigue more than anything else.
What does history tell us?
While the gulf in class between the two teams has been significant in the past season, the head-to-head record tells a similar story.
In the last 2 league meetings, Arua Hill have narrowly held the edge with 1 win. The last time these two sides met was in May at the Greenlight where Arua Hill eased to a 3-0 victory. Interestingly, it was their first win over the caterpillars. This particular fixture was marred by violence that kept interrupting proceedings, especially in the second half.
The stakes are higher for Livingstone Mbabazi
An Onduparaka FC manager will seldom enter a West Nile derby with as little pressure as Mawa Haruna does today.
His project at Greenlight is still in its teething phase given the club’s current status, but a first win of the season at Barifa will be a strong statement of intent.
The pressure, however, is on Livingstone Mbabazi. With favorite right-back Atendele Geriga ruled out through injury and Matovu Richard and Paul Musamali missing out after receiving matching orders in their last league appearances, he’ll know that the chances of his team rejuvenating their season heavily hinges on this fixture.
A win over the visitors today could see Arua Hill establishing their dominance in the West Nile derby.
All eyes on the Onduparaka defence
The wholesale changes Mawa Haruna has made to the Onduparaka FC backline are evidenced by the fact that of the four, only Rashid Okocha who started in their last visit to Barifa stadium, is expected to make it to the playing-XI this time.
In the last seven games, Onduparaka have conceded six goals in all league matches this season. Meanwhile Arua Hill have conceded seven times this season.
The Barifa side are currently on a goal drought. After their 3-0 win over UPDF at home, the Kongolo have failed to score in their last four league matches, losing all of them in the process.
What’s at stake?
It’s not a secret that football without fans is a soulless venture that deprives the sport of its emotional appeal and entertainment. The recent declaration by Onduparaka FC Fans leaders calling on the club fans not to show up at Barifa stadium could take out some flavor from the derby.
The fans executive allege that this pronouncement aims to save football in the region and the country at large. According to the Fans President, Jamal Ahmed, the possibilities of a clash between the home and away fans is high and therefore could affect the club’s reputation further than it has already been.