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From Battling Relegation to Top Ugandan Football, Express’s Comeback Story

Express barely survived relegation in the 2017-18 season, securing their slot only after defeating bottom club Masavu 1-0 in the final game of the season. In that season, Express finished 13th with 31 points while UPDF that was relegated in the 14th position had 29 points.
express-fc-players-celebrate. Courtesy picture

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Federation of Uganda Football Association, last week declared Express FC the Champions of Star Times Uganda Premier league after the local governing body ended the league prematurely.

The decision by FUFA ended the red eagles ten years' run without a single trophy. The Wankulukuku based team last won their silverware in the in the 2012 season, since then it has remained a dream. Winning the 2021 silverware comes as a relief for Express.

In the course of ten years, ‘Mukwano Gwabangi” as the club is commonly known faced several setbacks but the most notable one was when they survived relegation on the deadline at the expense of Masavu.

Express barely survived relegation in the 2017-18 season, securing their slot only after defeating bottom club Masavu 1-0 in the final game of the season. In that season, Express finished 13th with 31 points while UPDF that was relegated in the 14th position had 29 points.

Their 13th place finish became their lowest finish in the top flight. The red eagles continued to struggle the following season and finished 10th. During the 2020 season, Express’s situation became worse when they finished 12th with a difference of 6 points between them and the relegated teams.



Kiryowa Kiwanuka takes over   In 2018, Top city Lawyer Kiryowa Kiwanuka took over the chairmanship of Express FC during the bad days of the historical club. Kiryowa found Express when they had just survived relegation on the deadline. However, Kiwanuka being a grandson of the legendary Express founder Jolly Joe Kiwanuka, he was regarded as a natural leader. 

After taking the mantle, in his remarks, Kiryowa promised to revive the glory of the Red Eagles. He said Express was lacking discipline, a thing that had caused the traditional club to loose its identity.  

“Express has been a leader, if Express gets back in line then Ugandan football will get back in line, Express fights on pitch and off the pitch, that’s all indiscipline, for the first time I can promise that Express is going to deal in a structured manner,” Kiryowa said after taking over  

Wasswa Bbosa joins as head coach 

On May 29th, Express’s chairman confirmed that the club had appointed Coach Wasswa Bbossa as the red Eagles head coach on a permanent deal. The tactician had spent three months as interim coach when he replaced George Ssemwogerere. 

This was the second time for Wasswa Bbosa to take over as Express FC head coach. Previously, he held the same role in 2014 before being sacked in November due to poor results.    However before taking over as Express FC head coach in 2014, Wasswa Bbosa had served as Sam Ssimbwa’s assistant during the 2011/2012 season. This was the last season for Express to win the Ugandan Premier league title.

Bbosa joined Express from Tooro United, his arrival at the Wankulukuku based team saw him coming with some of the players he recently managed in Tooro united, these included John Byamukama, Charles Musiige and Faisal Ssekyanzi, Mahad Kakooza Yaya and Godfrey Lwesibawa. All these are part of the team that has won 2021 silverware.  

This is Bbossa’s first title as head coach in Uganda football, and it is set to popularize him both at Wankulukuku and also in Uganda football because it is the first title on his name.

 

//Cue in: oluvanyuma lwokuwangula …

Cue out: … ndi musanyufu nyo”//

2021 season, road for the victory

In a bid to secure the silverware, the red eagles beat almost all their biggest competitors. Express FC beat the runners up home and away. They also beat and collected four points from Vipers who came third on table. They scooped the league with 58 points from 26 games, winning 17 games, drawing 7 and losing only two.  Now Bbosa called upon URA FC to concede the defeat because they defeated them twice

//Cue in: URA terina …

Cue out: …nayo egenda okiika”//

Express FC will now be representing Uganda in the CAF champions league next season as per the Confederation of African Football rules.Wasswa Bbosa believes his side will put an outstanding performance in continental football.

//Cue in: CAF champions league …

Cue out:  … ekyali waggulu”//

This is the seventh title for the Wankulukuku based club after winning in 1974, 1975, 1993, 1995, 1996 and 2011 league.

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