Tuesday March 21 2017

Mutebi impressed despite Caf Champions League exit

Mike Mutebi and his assistant Molly Byekwaso

Mike Mutebi and his assistant Molly Byekwaso consult tactics. Mutebi and Byekwaso face an enviable task of ending Egyptian clubs’ dominance over Ugandan opposition in Africa. Photo by Eddie Chicco 



KCCA manager Mike Mutebi believes crashing out of the Caf Champions League at the hands of defending kings Mamelodi Sundowns the way they did on Saturday made his team better.

The South Africans eliminated Ugandan champions 3-2 on aggregate after Geoffrey Sserunkuma’s fourth goal of the competition was answered with an Anthony Laffor second half thunderbolt.

That ensured Sundowns proceeded with their title defence in the group stage and KCCA dropped to the Confederation Cup, where they will be drawn against any of the 16 winners in a play-off to see if they will have another chance at playing in yet another group stage.

“We wanted to make history by becoming the first Ugandan club to play in the Champions League group stage,” said Mutebi, “But we have not managed, losing to African champions.

“But we still have a chance to make history by becoming the first club in Uganda to play in the Confederation Cup group stage. We still have a lot to play for, a lot to learn.”

Tactics gone bad. Mutebi hauled off teenager

Tactics gone bad. Mutebi hauled off teenager Allan Okello and Paul Mucurezi and replaced them with Sulaimon Akinyemi and Paul Musamali (L). PHOTO BY E. CHICCO

On Saturday, KCCA had looked to go on and shock Sundowns until nine minutes to go when substitute Laffor intervened.

“Against the African champions, we believed. The players believed we could do it but then Sundowns showed they were in charge as the game grew, you could see it. They have been in these situations countless times.

“But overall I’m impressed. This is all part of growth. It is a learning curve. We could say the draw wasn’t kind to us but it was a very good test.

“It has given us more belief that we can do more. I’m excited. We still have a chance in the Confederation Cup group stages.

“These are the challenges that we need to grow, as a country. Playing consistently on the continent is the answer to Uganda’s football growth. We must stay on the continent.”

As KCCA wait for the Confederation Cup draw, they will shift focus to the Azam Uganda Premier League (UPL), where they face Soana next Tuesday.

First round winners from Confederation Cup
JS Kabylie, MC Alger, Recreativo do Libolo, Al-Masry, Smouha, IR Tanger, Mas Fez, Rayon Sports, Platinum Stars, Club Africain, CS Sfaxien, Zesco United
First round losers from Champions League
Rail Club du Kadiogo, CF Mounana, CNaPS Sport, Fus Rabat, Rivers United, Young Africans, KCCA