The notable absence of first choice starters, Muzamir Mutyaba, Jackson Nunda, Julius Poloto and Sadam Juma had added a layer of difficulty to KCCA progress to the second round.
But trust their perfect home record in Caf matches at the StarTimes Stadium, KCCA had to thank midfielder Paul Mucureezi who headed home for Mike Mutebi’s side to scamper away from the CNaPS’s trap.
On Wednesday, KCCA forsook their ‘our way’ passing football for an end justifies the end approach with CNaPS coach Patrick Tipeh labeling them a ‘ lucky set piece team’.
Mutebi seemed to agree that his team lacked the composure and agility they had in the last campaign ahead of a daunting task against Ethiopian St George next month.
“It is in the DNA of Ugandan players to pass the ball without purpose.The CNaPS game was a good match that tested the intelligence of our players,” Mutebi told SCORE after the narrow win.
As the team puffed and huffed for victory, Mutebi’s substitute bench had Jamal Maliyamungu (gk), Peter Magambo, Abubakari Matisko, Hassan Musana, Solomon Okwalinga, Muhammad Shaban and Musamali, whose combined experience could offer less salvation.
“We have been building a young team four the last three years. These boys such as Lawrence Bukenya and Allan Okello have been given big responsibilities on the continent,” Mutebi said when asked about the gulf in class between the current team and last year’s all conquering team that stormed the Caf Confederations Cup groups.
In the past, the reigning league giants have ridden on the back of experienced campaigners such as Geoffrey Sserunkuma, Ivan Ntege, Benjamin Ochan, Tom Masiko, Vincent Kayizzi, Joseph Ochaya and Robert Ssentongo.
And this time Mutebi is unfazed, sating: “They (St George) are a team that will make our players think but that will not deter the way we want to play.
“We play like that we shall eliminate them.”
Teams: St George vs KCCA
Match day: March 5 and March 7