Wednesday March 7 2018

KCCA desperate to draw first blood

KCCA coach Mike Mutebi

Perfectionist: KCCA coach Mike Mutebi. PHOTO BY EDDIE CHICCO 

By Andrew Mwanguhya

The one encouraging aspect about KCCA’s continental journey is that they have, on average, managed that odd away goal.

In seven away Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup matches, they have scored four away goals; but on all occasions, they have lost in regulation time.

But that goal in marginal away defeats to Angola’s de Agosto and Madagascar’s CNaPS Sport set the stage for KCCA to turn it around at home and advance to the next round.

That is something that manager Mike Mutebi’s men will attempt to do again when they face Ethiopian champions St George in the first leg of the Champions League first round.

However, they want to move a step better this time by recording their first away clean sheet in the last seven attempts, and perhaps also win on the road for the first time in said sequence.

“We shall do our best to get the best result here and later at home so that we qualify for the next stage,” said teenager Allan Okello, who Mutebi will rely on – together with back-to-fitness midfielder Muzamir Mutyaba - to make things happen in Addis Ababa.

Striker Shaban Mohammad is back from injury and alongside Derrick Nsibambi, responsibility will be on them to score.
“It’s a challenge for me to work extra hard because I’ve not been playing, and am ready to face them (St George) if given a chance,” he said.

“Pressure to score an away goal will always be there but as players we have to handle that pressure. It will not be an easy game but as a team we are ready.”

Manager Mutebi agrees with Shaban about the task at hand but welcomes the challenge.
“St George’s good passing game will make our players think,” said Mutebi, “We are going to press them and get an away goal meaning we aren’t going to be entirely defensive.

“The Soana (1-0 win) game gave us a direction to play against St George. My boys won’t shiver at a crowded Addis Ababa stadium because they have been before more intimidating stadiums in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco,” Mutebi added.

Defenders Habib Kavuma, Mustafa Kizza, Denis Okot, Filbert Obenchan and Timothy Awany are the men charged with getting that elusive away clean sheet.

Should KCCA eliminate St George over the two legs, they will be guaranteed $550,000 (shs1.9bn) for advancing to the group stage.

Rwandan match officials Jean Claude Ishimwe, Raymond Nonati Bwiliza and Zephanie Niyonkuru will handle this first leg.