FUFA Drum: West Nile Province vs Karamoja – Preview
The standout FUFA Drum fixture of the weekend takes place at Greenlight Stadium on Friday afternoon, as West Nile Province kickstart their campaign against familiar opponents Karamoja Province.
West Nile Province will be facing Karamoja for fifth time since Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) introduced the tournament.
The first fixture between the two sides took place during the inaugural edition of the FUFA Drum in 2018. West Nile began their campaign away to Karamoja and the game ended in a one all stalemate.
It turned out to be one of the shocking results of the tournament. Former Arua Hill SC striker Alfred Leku had put West Nile in front, while Vitalis Tabu failed to convert a penalty and Majid Ayop leveled matters for the home side.
West Nile ran riot past Karamoja in the return leg at Barokoro stadium with a 5-1 win in what was regarded as one of their best performances. Gadafi Wahab struck a hat trick while Rashid Toha and Ivan Wani scored a goal each.
West Nile finished the game with a man less after Goalkeeper Alionzi Nafian was sent off, few minutes towards the end of half-time, for making a save outside the 18-yard-box.
During the second edition of the FUFA Drum in 2019, West Nile defeated Karamoja 1-0 in the first leg and wrapped up the second leg with a comfortable 3-1 win to take second place in Group C behind eventual winners Acholi Province, Brian Ade, Fred Amaku and Ezra Bida scored a goal each.
West Nile Province
Goalkeeper Alionzi Nafian, defender Bright Vuni and forward Muhammad Shaban joined their teammates in the last training on Thursday afternoon at Green light stadium.
The trio were part of the Uganda Cranes side that defeated Western Region Select Team at Kyamate Stadium, Ntungamo on Tuesday.
According to Head Coach Dudu Bosco, Muhammad Shaban will have to undergo a late fitness test to determine his readiness to feature against the Northeastern side.
The White Rhinos will line up in their preferred 4-3-3 formation in front of goalkeeper Ajaib Nafian. Toha Rashid is likely to pair up with Bright Vuni, while Atendele Geriga and Okocha Rashid line up as the full-backs. Vuni and Toha’s battle against Karamoja forward Ayopo Majid could be one to watch out for on Friday afternoon.
Yakin Rashid will sit at the base of the midfield and sweep up things that come his way while using his range of distribution to set the attackers on their way. Gadafi Wahab and Andama Junior will bring the creative spark and the industry in the middle of the park.
Moving into the attacking third, Muhammad Shaban will slot in as the nine and look to exploit the spaces between the lines while creating spaces for the wide forwards with his movement In case Shaban fails to pass fitness test, Rwothmio Cromwell will be ready to occupy the position.
Rashid Kawawa, who is FUFA Young Player of the Season 2022, should get the nod on the right flank. Jarieko James should feature on the left as he looks to break his duck against Karamoja Province.
Gadafi Gadinho, Oscar Mawa and Iddi Abdul Wahid will all be options from the bench for the hosts.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ajaib; Atendele, Toha, Vuni, Okocha; Yakin, Gadafi, Junior; Shaban, Kawawa, Jarieko
Karamoja have no injury-related absentees for the trip to Greenlight. Skipper Komakech Rafael is in contention to make the squad on Friday despite having no club. Eryaku Thomas is also available.
Head Coach Okoboi Amos is likely to set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation. Ochen Benedict, who helped Soroti FC qualify for the 2022/23 FUFA Big League, will once again need to be at his best to keep the White Rhinos at bay on Friday.
Komakech Rafael and Kodet Christopher should pair up at the heart of the backline.
Eryaku Thomas could get the nod at right-back owing to his defensive nous, which could come in handy to keep Jarieko quiet. Kibet Johnson should feature on the left side, where he will have his hands full against a lively Rashid Kawawa.
Lomo Ismail becomes the automatic pick for the No. 6 slot for Karamoja Province. As for the remaining two places in midfield, Okello Denis Ayella will occupy one of those.
It leaves the rest of the midfield players competing for the other spot, and Ilukol Alan Jeremy could get the nod over the rest due to his experience and recent form.
Ayopo Majid remains the only option up top for Karamoja Province, who will be desperately hoping for their key forward to turn up the heat at Greenlight. Caacha Victor should occupy the left flank, while Kodet Vincent Ferror should get the nod on the right.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ochen Benedict; Eryaku Thomas, Komakech Rafael, Kodet Christopher, Kibet Johnson; Lomo Ismail, Okello Denis Ayella, Ilukol Alan Jeremy; Ayopo Majid, Caacha Victor, Kodet Vincent Ferror
West Nile Province are looking to win their fourth game against Karamoja Province. Meanwhile the visitors will be looking at winning their first game against West Nile after five games in the FUFA Drum across three editions.
West Nile Province made it to the finals of the inaugural edition of the FUFA Drum in 2018. The latter lost 2-1 to eventual winners Buganda Province. Buganda won the first leg 1-0 at Bishop SS playgrounds in Mukono thanks to a Viane Ssekajugo late strike.
While the return leg at the Greenlight Stadium ended 1-1 with Ssekajugo canceling out Villa Oromchan goal for West Nile.
Players to watch
Muhammad Shaban will be the player to look out for against Karamoja. The striker was the domestic striker with the most goals (15) alongside former URA FC forward Steven Mukwala who has since joined Ghana Premier League side Asante Kotoko.
Shaban will provide pace and dynamism up front, creating room for Kawawa and Jariecho to freely find the space to fluke goals.
West Nile Province 3-0 Karamoja Province
West Nile Province are the favorite going into this fixture. They have a more balanced side, with both experienced and young players who will be looking to grab every opportunity granted to them.
While it would be foolish to count out Okoboi Amos’s side on any day, Karamoja Province come into the game with the zeal to break the winning jinx against West Nile..
Karamoja equally have a side with experienced players. They have also included numerous young stars from clubs that play within the region. According to the head coach, the province is aiming at giving exposure to the young players.