Mission possible for Express FC

Sunday September 19 2021
soccer01pix

Red Hot: Murushid Juuko (R) dribbles past Al Merrikh’s Elsamani Saadeldin in the first leg of CAF Champions League Cup at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende. PHOTO / JOHN BATANUDDE

By Denis Bbosa

Express coach Wasswa Bbosa believes his team can put their stadium mess frustrations out of mind and focus on winning this evening’s crucial Caf Champions League return leg against Al Merrikh.

The say-as-it-is gaffer, who is barred from commanding his troops on match day, has refused to be drawn in the stadium change fracas that saw the match transferred from Khartoum to El Obeid Shikan Castle Stadium in Kurdufan State  and postponed from Friday to today.

“The extra days we have spent here have given us an advantage to acclimatise to the Sudan hot weather. We want to assure our fans that we are going to deliver victory on Sunday,” Bbosa revealed.

He will hope that stand-in coaches Simon Kirumira and James Odoch execute his game plan to the core.

A draw of any kind will see Express through to the next round to face either Equatorial Guinea’s Akonangui FC or Zanaco of Zambia.

Two goals each from lively forwards Eric Kambale and Martin Kizza left continental perennial participants Al Merrikh utterly shell-shocked after an Express performance full of passion, belief and determination at St Mary’s Stadium-Kitende last week to earn 2-1 lead.

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Bbosa will look to the enterprising duo for that vital away goal whilst hoping that the backline of Enock Walusimbi, Murushid Juuko, Arthur Kigundu and Issa Lumu shake off the defensive lapse they exhibited in Merrikh’s consolation goal.

Express, back at the big stage since 2008, have a mountain to climb, with Merrikh allowed to have 5000 fans to back them and are now fully aware of the threat the Cecafa and league kings pose.

Battle of formation

Bbosa’s Red Eagles prefer the counter-attacking 4-3-3 system which will be met with the hosts’ 3-5-2 formation. 

For Express to prevail, Bbosa must choose the best midfield combo from the available options - Abel Eturude, Mahad Kakooza, Daniel Shabene,John Byamukama, Muzamir Mutyaba, Charles Musiige and Joseph Akandanwaho - to stifle the hosts.

Lately, Ugandan representatives are beginning to grow accustomed to first stage exit but Bbosa is ready to risk and flip the coin to get a step further.

“We have prepared well and we shall definitely do a good job. The team is aware of the job at hand and they all want to progress. Playing at a neutral ground gives us more hope,” Bbosa asserted.

To achieve that, Express defence ought to pay extra attention to Merrikh lethal forwards Bakri Abd Elgadir and Tony Edjomariegwe that stretches them at Kitende.

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