How SC Villa won 17th Uganda League title

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SC Villa ended their 20-year national championship wait after winning the 2023/24 Startimes Uganda Premier title following a 2-0 away victory over NEC at the MTN Omondi Stadium in Lugogo Saturday.

Two second half goals from Charles Lwanga and Hakim Kiwanuka calmed a tense situation for the Jogoos to claim the title on 57 points, one ahead of BUL and Vipers SC.

The latter duo were also victorious on the day with BUL relegating Busoga 3-0 in Njeru and deposed champions Vipers seeing off Mbarara City 4-1.

But this didn’t matter in title matters in the end as blue ribbons adorned the 2023/24 trophy, which was delivered to Lugogo by a helicopter.

Kitara, who alongside NEC and Mbarara were promoted to the Premier League just this season, also ended their season on a winning note, relegating Gaddafi 3-0 in Masindi.

Villa fans – in throngs – could not contain their joy at the final whistle, with a section descending on the pitch at full time. But the situation was later contained to allow a trophy handover ceremony.

This is a record extending 17th league title for Villa. It, too, marks their first league title since their greatest ever captain, Paul Hasule, died 20 years ago.

The journey to the title at Lugogo, after NEC had defiantly held on, started on 67 minutes minutes when Lwanga headed in Umar Lutalo cross.

Kiwanuka then ensured victory was not in doubt when he calmly doubled the advantage for Villa with a quarter of the game to play after being teed-on by Patrick Jonah Kakande.

The youngster, Kiwanuka, calmed any nerves when he received the pass, taking a touch and two into the area before cleverly placing the ball under NEC goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan for a 2-0 victory.

By this time, a sea of blue flags had taken over the air and hugs of relief were taking rounds in the Villa VIP section that had the club president Hajj Omar Mandela and Buganda Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga among the dignitaries.

The result, you could argue, was a fitting finale for Villa, who played some eye-catching football this season under Serbian coach Dusan Stojanovic.

At Kitende, a brace from skipper Milton Karisa and goals by Karim Watambala and Abubakar Lawal sealed a 4-1 victory over Mbarara, with Seiri Arigumaho getting the Ankole Lions consolation.

A Denis Omedi brace and goal from Paul Micureezi saw Kitara end their impressive season with a 3-0 victory over Gaddafi in Masindi.

The final day drama didn’t spare the bottom of the table. There was a late escape for UPDF, who beat Wakiso Giants 1-0 to see Gaddafi and Busoga United join Arua Hill as the three relegated teams.

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