KAMPALA- Mike Mutebi and KCCA return to Tunisia desperate to change the tide.
They face Tunisian giants Esperance in a Caf Champions League match tonight hoping to dislodge them from Group A summit. Yet they are also aware they could be in for a long night.
Mutebi, who for the umpteenth took over coaching reins at KCCA three years ago, was first welcomed to Tunis with a 4-0 thrashing by Club Africain last season.
Although he had been replaced by Tom Lwanga 21 years ago when the then KCC were thumped 6-0 at the same venue tonight, the Stade Olympique De Rades, that young team were a product of Mutebi.
KCCA have since greatly improved against North African opposition; dismissing at home Al Masry, Club Africain, Fus Rabat, and just the other day, Al Ahly; losing all their away ties against the same in normal time notwithstanding. But you have to give it the KCCA manager for; belief has never been part of his 99 problems.
“That mentality of losing before playing North African teams is now gone,” he said, “It is all about believing and having educated players. It gives me hope that the sky is the limit for this young team.”
Yet the man who led KCCA to two successive league titles before surrendering it to Vipers in the just ended campaign is not oblivious of the fact that they will need more than just belief in a territory the club and Uganda have never won.
“Yes that is a fact we have to live with,” admitted Mutebi, “But we are working hard to break that.”
Esperance have already thrashed Botswana’s Township Rollers 4-1 in their second group game after drawing their first goalless with Al Ahly.
Currently third on three points – one fewer than Esperance-, KCCA recovered from their opening day 1-0 defeat to Rollers to beat Ahly 2-0 at Namboole to keep their quarterfinal dream alive.
Against KCCA tonight, the hosts are expected to have most of the ball, to probe the guests intensely.
But with a likely three at the back manned by captain Timothy Awany, a five-man midfield with Sadam Juma dictating events, and Allan Okello, Julius Poloto and Patrick Kaddu at the ready for breaks, the hosts will also be wary.
KCCA possible XI: Charles Lukwago, Bernard Muwanga, Timothy Awany, Mustapha Kizza, Isaac Kirabira, Sadam Ibrahim Juma, Lawrence Bukenya, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Julius Poloto, Allan Okello, Patrick Kaddu
Substitutes: Tom Ikara, Fillbert Obenchan, Hassan Musana, Gift Abubakar Alli, Nunda Jackson, Steven Sserwadda, Shaban Muhamad
Fixtures & Results
Caf Champions League, tonight
Esperance vs KCCA, 10pm
Al Ahly vs Township Rollers, 10pm
Group A’s last results
KCCA 2-0 Al Ahly
Esperance 4-1 Township Rollers