The fact that Vipers Sports Club drew twice in a space of three days to URA and Mbarara City respectively, is worryingly an issue which interestingly does not rule out title chances.

There is soul searching within Vipers camp this moment as the club faithful contemplate on a failure in the quest to retain the league trophy but there was no disgrace in both draws though the boys did not play to known standards.

On a positive note, at 31 points, the team has garnered 5 points more than last season, standing in second, one position better from third as at closure of 2017/18 first round therefore there are reasons to remain optimistic as we head into the second round.

As we prepare to kick start the next round, the team remains unbeaten and enjoying the second best points tally in the club history at this stage, the most being the 35 points haul during the 2014/15 season.

With 15 league clashes to come between now and May, it serves us a useful juncture to assess the progress within the team as we look to build on the positives as well as rectifying our shortcomings.

Mulondo/Lwaliwa partnership

Signed from Kirinya Jinja SSS FC this season, Livingstone Mulondo had been imperious as he took his chance in the centre back role.

Livingstone Mulondo

There are other budding talents at Vipers but he is forging a special partnership with evergreen Halid Lwaliwa to the technical team satisfaction.

Halid Lwaliwa

The two give Vipers a completely different aura and their defensive displays during the first round, have been impressive thus injury to any of them would hurt but Henry Katongole’s registration is a vital cog in our title challenge.

Adjusting to the 4-2-3-1 formation:

Kenyan born Micheal Nam Ouma is forming a formidable partnership with Edward Golola to the team advantage, they have began to deviate from a 4-3-3 formation that brought so much joy under Da Costa going to 4-2-3-1 system which accomodates the type of players at their disposal.

Michael Nam Ouma & Edward Golola

There can be few complaints that this system isn’t as cohesive as the 4-3-3 but without the likes of Milton Karisa, Erisa Sekisambu and the rest, this formation ably suits the current crop of players at the club which is a positive going forward.

Fabien Mutombora’s recovery:

The Burundian import, is a very big reason for the Venoms leaking fewer goals in the Startimes Uganda Premier League, standing tall when required and distributing the ball superbly.

Fabien Mutombora

His crucial saves keep us going but a penalty save at the feet of Saddam Juma against KCCA stand out as its the reason we are still in the title race by now otherwise it would be over by now, had it gone in.

His crucial saves have come with a one goal lead, a one goal deficit or with matches level therefore staying injury free, will be very vital to the team success.

More required from the strikers:

While Dan Sserunkuuma has chipped in with nine goals and provided a growing threat in attack, his partners in Tito Okello, Davis Kasirye and Abraham Ndugwa remain short of their best.

Dan Sserunkuma

Kasirye started the season well but dropped off while Tito has just two league goals to his name and has struggled as a no 10, often going missing in matches as Ndugwa is yet to produce his known Masavu form.

However, all are good footballers expected to come good during the second round though their current slump is a big reason for Vipers failing to fire in the final third.

Improved midfield:

Our midfield is continually improving each passing game as every player gets accustomed to whoever is fielded with, Tadeo Lwanga, Geofrey Wasswa, Brian Nkuubi, Moses Waiswa, Rahmat Ssenfuka together with Duncan Sseninde are demonstrating their importance to the team, same applying to Innocent Wafula who is adapting.

Geofrey Wasswa and Duncan Sseninde

By the time the business end of the season rolls around, we will be rejoicing due to the influence of our midfield players.

Title race wide open:

KCCA are understandably strong favourites to wrestle the league crown from us basing on the current placing as they lie 5 points ahead, however they will be worried about this Vipers squad.

Last season as everybody had written off the Venoms, they racked up points in a devastating manner with twelve wins, drawing only three matches and by the time the season ended, we were worthy champions four points above KCCA whom we trailed by three points at the start of the second round.

Its so far so good at Vipers as we launch the second round onslaught to retain the league trophy.