By Shafik Ssenoga
Pepsi University Football League
Kumi v KIU
Busitema v Uganda Martyrs University
Mbarara v University of Kisubi
Kabale v Kyambogo
Kampala International University coach Geoffrey Akabwai believes the new format of the Pepsi University Football League will create more competition.
The league has been expanded to 20 teams this season, and broken down into five groups, each featuring four teams.
"The new competition format is tricky and challenging. On the positive side, it will improve the competitiveness in the league and is a wakeup call to teams to be serious from the word go because we shall be fighting for one slot in each group," said the KIU tactician.
Akabwai, who captained KIU for four seasons from 2012 to 2015, believes his side can finish at the top of the group in spite of being pitted with UCU, the defending champions.
"Ours is a difficult group, but I think we can make it. We have played all the teams in our group before (UCU, IUIU and Kumi) and are familiar with their style of play. We simply have to adapt and be focused and ensure we win all our games at home and lose no points away," he said.
KIU begin their campaign away to Kumi University and Akabwai is keen to pick up from where they left off last season.
"Last season, we beat Kumi at their home 2-1 and I believe we shall do so again on Thursday. We are well prepared and geared up for the season and the boys are excited to be playing. Our focus is to, first of all, make it out of the group stage and thereafter return to Namboole."
KIU are a pioneer team in the university league, having started off in the inaugural season in 2012.
Their best performance was reaching the third-place playoffs in 2014, where they lost to Nkumba University to settle for fourth.
They have since struggled and have failed to make it out of the group stage in the last two seasons.