There was a sigh of relief when KCCA was a given a bye in the Caf Confederation Cup preliminary round - and later drawn against Tanzanian side Mtibwa Sugar as the last impediment to the group stages.
With respect to Mtibwa and to a large extent the football dictum that soccer is soccer and anything can happen, this is KCCA’s game to lose.
The enviable squad depth at Mike Mutebi’s disposal this season promises to erase the away jitters that have always hurt KCCA in the near misses they have had in the last two outings.
While dismantling the Magreb teams long standing stage fright, KCCA has been proving that results are got by attacking rather than defending deep, the same approach Mutebi promises to unleash against Mtibwa today at StarTimes Stadium.
Even with the subsequent departure of proven strikers Muhammad Shaban, Geoffrey Sserunkuma and Derrick Nsibambi, KCCA remain with a potent striking force that can carry them to the group stages and beyond. Lead striker Patrick Kaddu has now established himself at the club and national team whereas seasoned campaigners Allan Kyambadde, Mike Mutyaba and Mawejje Muwadda offer backup while youngster Steven Sserwadda also has a point to prove.
If the KCCA midfield set of Sadam Juma, Allan Okello, Jackson Nunda, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Gift Ali and Jackson Nunda matched lauded elite clubs Al Ahly, Esperance, Mamelodi Sundowns and St George pound for pound in the high level Caf Champions League, why not in the lower Caf Confederations Cup this season?
In custodian Charles Lukwago, forget the Express howler, KCCA has net minder that can solely win them a few group games as the 2-0 triumph over Al Ahly at Namboole last season can attest.
The resource envelope, a key factor for any ambitious side on the continent is still in the Lugogo side’s favour which will allow them beef the team further if they dump out Mtibwa over two legs.
Vipers, now representing in the Caf Champions League (played Algerian side CS Constantine last night) can also learn from KCCA’s impressive performance at home and turn St Mary’s Stadium in Kitende into a fortress, as they seek to scale the heights.
2018 CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Home results since Feb 2017
KCCA 1-0 Primero de Agosto (Angola)
KCCA 1-1 Mamelodi Sundowns (SA)
KCCA 1-0 Al Masry (Egypt)
KCCA 3-1 Fus Rabat (Morocco)
KCCA 2-1 Club Africain (Tunisia)
KCCA 2-1 Rivers United (Nigeria)
KCCA 1-0 CNapS Sport (Madagascar)
KCCA 1-0 St George (Ethiopia)
KCCA 2-0 Al Ahly (Egypt)
KCCA 1-0 Esperance
KCCA 1-0 Saint George (ETH)
Saint George 0-0 KCCA
KCCA 1-0 CNaPS Sport (MAD)
CNaPS Sport 2-1 KCCA (UGA)
KCCA ON CONTINENT - 2017
CAF CONFEDERATION CUP
Al Masry (EGY) 1-0 KCCA
KCCA 1-0 Al Masry
(KCCA won 4-3 on penalties)
Club Africain (TUN) 4-0 KCCA
KCCA 3-1 FUS Rabat (MAR)
Rivers United (NIG) 2-1 KCCA
KCCA 2-1 Rivers United
KCCA 2-1 Club Africain
FUS Rabat 3-0 KCCA
CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
KCCA 1-1 Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)
Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 KCCA
Club de Agosto (ANG) 2-1 KCCA
KCCA 1-0 Club de Agosto
Brief Profile: Having won the Tanzania Cup, Mtibwa eliminated Northern Dynamo of Seychelles 5-0 on aggregate to get to this stage.
Nickname: Wana tam tam
Stadium: Manungu Stadium
Coach: Zuber Katwira
DID YOU KNOW
*Caf Confederation Cup adventure in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 but never got past second round.
*Have won the Tanzanian Premier League twice - 1999 and 2000 but are now third on the log behind Azam and Simba.
Mtibwa last eight matches
06/10/18: Mtibwa 1-1 KMC
21/10/18: Mbao 1-0 Mtibwa
25/10/18: Stand United 2-1 Mtibwa
28/10/18: Mtibwa Sugar 1-0 Kagera
03/11/18: Mtibwa 4-0 Ruvu Shooting
07/11/18: Alliance 1-0 Mtibwa Sugar
27/11/18: Mtibwa 4-0 N. Dynamo
04/12/18: N. Dynamo 0-1 Mtibwa