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Breaking down the 2023/2024 Betpawa FUFA Big League 

The 2023/2024 FUFA Big League season returns bigger and better with steam geared up for the three qualifying slots to the top tier league. The big question is; Who will make their way to the Uganda Premier League?

The 14th season of top level football in the FUFA Big league has had a reach transfer market which has seen a couple of clubs making changes from the management, technical staff and the playing staff as they vie to qualify to the UPL.  

This has also been spearheaded by the new sponsorship package from Betpawa which will see the league naming rights taken up to become the Betpawa FUFA Big League with a hefty package worth $150,000 USD. This will also see an increase in the prize money with also an introduction of the locker room bonus to the winning teams on each match day.

The 2023/2024 Betpawa FUFA Big League will have 15 teams competing for the three slots with just 14 playgrounds confirmed as an historical Eastern Regional derby that will see rivals Mbale Heroes and Kataka United sharing the same hosting ground Mbale Municipal Stadium.

The Battle for top three: 

The battle for who qualifies to to the 2024/2025 UPL season seems to be a tight one with a couple of teams showing alot of preparations ahead of the league kickoff, Police FC will have to vie for a slot against Onduparaka, Booma, Lugazi FC and Jinja North United.

Police FC after losing out to the top three qualifying slots last season as they finished fourth, look to be determined to make a come back to the top flight football and they are the favourites to the top the Big league table after a couple of changes which have seen them with a complete overhaul of the technical staff.

Coach Angelo Lonyesi and his technical staff were dropped and they have been replaced by experienced Simon Peter Mugerwa who will be assisted by Robert Ssekweyama and Nestroy Kizito with Lwanga Ben Kalama taking up the goalkeeping coach role, this has seen Fazil Ibrahim retained a the fitness coach.

The cops have made a couple of signings which will bring experience into the squad with the likes of Gaddafi Kacancu, Eragu Gabriel Souza, Daniel Otto, Ahmed Amayo, Isaac Ogwang, Raymond Onyai, Edward Kasibante and Ivan Eyam will be tasked to guide the team back to the UPL football.

For Onduparaka FC having spent seven seasons in the Uganda Premier League football since their qualification at the end of the 2015/2016 big league season, the West Nile giants seem to have cheated themselves after playing out to a hilarious season which saw them finish in the 14th position in last year’s UPL season hence being demoted to the big league after managerial struggles hitting up their camp.

They look set to fight their way back to top flight football despite losing almost half of their squad in the transfer window but an early recruitment of head coach Samson Ceaser Okhuti a home grown product maybe one of the push factors they will rely on alongside the fan home base as they will play at Greenlight Stadium in Arua.

Masindi based side Booma FC is one of the well organized teams in the Big League and after having made a marque partnership with Jonard group in a deal worth Uganda Shillings 100M, they look set to play out for their monies as they will try to qualify for the UPL football as one of their top priorities.

They kick off their 2023/2024 Betpawa Big league campaign with a home game as they host Jinja North United in the opening game at Masindi Stadium.

Lugazi FC is one of the silent contenders of the top three slots to the Uganda Premier League but after having finished in the fifth position in their debut season in the FUFA Big League, they will task themselves to finish with an higher achievement better than what they already conquered.

They host their home games at Lugazi Stadium located in the forests of Mabira which they made a fortress last season. A couple of new additions like Fahad Imran, Abdul Kalanzi, Latif Kiyemba and Savio Kabugo will boost their squad with vast experience.

Debuting in the 2022/2023 Big League Season, Jinja North United had a fairly balanced season as they managed to pick up 10 wins and 9 draws from the 30 games played to finish 10th on table, with almost a full squad reshape the Eastern side looks set to have a battle for the top three qualifying slots under the guidance of coach Sadiq Ssempigi.

Their strength and preparations will be measured in the opening game as they travel away to the west to face Booma FC in Masindi.

The Gist of the league:

These sides will have the league running as they will set the pace for the top contenders of the top three qualifying slots and the relegation battle as they will have to play an extra season in the FUFA Big League.

With all the difficulties they faced last season, a frustrated Kyetume were stripped off their 2022/2023 UPL entry ticket due to licencing issues but they managed to bounce back and fight their stay in the FBL despite going through alot of challenges.

This time round they look set and eager to play but they will have to play an extra season in Big league if they are to qualify for top flight football.

The return of Mbale Heroes was invented last season with support from Budadiri area MP Nandala Mafabi who took full responsibility to cater for players and coaching staff salaries, this has seen them going till securing a return in the Big league. 

There target for top flight football in the Uganda Premier League will be worth a wait for another season in the second division.

Kataka Football Club another Eastern side who are always on the bad side with their games ending in a chaotic manner will also give us an entertaining run in the league with a huge Mbale derby against rival Mabale Heroes but their preparation can’t see them better than a mid table finish.

Calvary and Kaaro Karungi are the other sides that will taste the relegation battles but their home advantages will play a huge role in their stay in the league.

The relegation battle: 

Ndejje University are one of the sides tipped to see the sword at the end of the 2023/2024 Big league season. A promising side they are, the University students have failed to up their game as they struggled in the first round of the just concluded FBL season and their stay in the league was mainly based on the performances from their opponents despite finishing in the 6th position.

They have been so silent in the transfer window as they have only resorted to using ongoing students at the University but this will be affect their stay in the FBL as players will suffer fatigue with the ongoing University Football League.

They will have to fight their way out of the relegation battles as earlier as possible if they are to maintain their stay in Big league football. They have managed to keep a couple of their star players with club captain Nicolas Luzige maintaining the armband amidst the transfer rumours.

Blacks Power is another side that will have to fight their way out of the relegation battles after facing a high decline eversince being promoted to the 2022/23 UPL season, they never played out to their expectations and also were affected by the backroom staff wrangles which saw them relegated back to the Big league.

They have lost many players and they will have to build a new empire but it may be affected by the inexperience and low support from the board of directors which will see them battling it out in the relegation zone.

After a huge struggle in the Buganda Regional league, Kiyinda Boys saw off tight competition from Kampala region side CATDA in the last qualifying round to book a slot in the 23/24 FBL season but there problems started from the time they shifted their home ground from Mityana Ssaza grounds to Homisdallen in Gayaza.

This is one of the reasons why they won’t last a season in the FUFA Big league as players will have to adopt to a new playing environment where fan base will be limited to only those who can afford transport to Gayaza hence the club losing out to a home advantage.

Lira based side Young Elephants are other side who are expected to give us a battle for who is relegated alongside Kabale based side Kigezi Homeboys.

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