It is a defeat. It is three points lost. But it is added experience and belief that actually, KCCA can go anywhere in Africa play some football. And when manager Mike Mutebi’ s boys host Esperance in the reverse fixture at Namboole next Saturday, they will know that they have it in themselves to actually beat the Tunisians and stay in with a quarter final chance in the Champions League.
KCCA’s 3-2 defeat to Esperance on Tuesday night emphasised the Tunisians known character as they battled from two goals down to win.
But for Uganda’s representatives KCCA, it was a belief-building show from a club that received a 6-0 trouncing in 1997 (then as KCC) from the same club and 4-0 thrashing by Club Africain at the same venue last year.
And they were in some heaven after starting like a house on fire; new signing Gift Ali weaving the magic for Jackson Nunda to score KCCA’s first goal on 18 minutes. Khalil Chemmam’s own goal under incessant pressure from Muhammad Shaban made it 2-0 for the visitors. The scoreline at Stade Olympique de Radès was surreal.
Mutebi’s starting five-man midfield of Sadam Juma, Muzamir Mutyaba, Ali, Julius Poloto and Nunda – all attack minded – had delivered.
But the dream – thanks to persistent pressure from Esperance and some naive defending and inexperience from KCCA – blurred after half an hour.
Anice Badri and Saad Bguir scored in quick succession for the hosts to level the scoreline in the 33rd minute.
Sustained second half pressure by Esperance, who had 73 per cent possession overall, 11 shots on target against six, and 558 passes against 209, bore them a winner as Belel Magri struck eight minutes from time. The Tunisians lead Group A on seven points.