The 2023/24 StarTimes Uganda Premier League opening day served local football lovers both excitement and refreshing shocks.

Seven games were lined up on Match Day One, with three opening the round on Friday and four more happening on Sunday. 

Friday’s three matches including SC Villa versus new boys Kitara at Wankulukuku, the promoted sides battle between hosts Mbarara City and NEC, and a tricky BUL visit to Kavumba to face Soltilo Bright Stars produced five goals.

Of course the teams should have scored more. But where they lacked goals, the matches served shocks and good entertainment.

Wins for the new boys

For example, two promoted sides won their games. Kitara stunned Villa with a 2-1 victory away at Wankulukuku, while NEC took care of fellow new boys Mbarara City 1-0. 

NEC were playing their first ever game in top-flight football. Dhata Joseph Stephen’s goal was also the club’s first ever in the UPL. Great history, there!

Then there is the Kitara win at Villa, made sure of by striker Denis Omedi and an unfortunate own goal by Elvis Ngondwe, with Charles Lwanga’s goal in between only good for Villa’s consolation. Clearly, the new boys may not be pushovers. 

It was a thrilling game at Wankulukuku, watched by multitudes of fans. But before the match, the party was already on, with Ugandan dancehall star Ziza Bafana rocking the crowd with some of his popular hits.

In tow were queen dancers that excited revellers with their wiggly moves. 

Free to Air magic 

In the stands former Uganda Cranes coach Micho Sredojevic and Villa chairman Omar Mandela took in the moments as an expectant crowd from both teams danced away.

Those at home were not left out as StarTimes, as a way of promoting the league further, screened the game for free under their new Free to Air initiative. 

The Free to Air initiative will continue throughout the season where one Match will be available to fans via a Free to Air channel every Match Day.

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