Kampala City Council Authority Football Club (KCCA FC) kick off their continental adventure tomorrow (Friday) away in Madagascar as they face CNaPS SPORT in the first leg of the preliminary round of the 2018 Caf Champions League.
While last year’s foray onto the continent was a tale of heroic failure, things appear to have changed so significantly in a period of less than a year. After giving then defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns a run for their money before they were knocked out 3-2 on aggregate, the Ugandan champions would go on to challenge continental giants like Club Africain throughout the group stages of the Caf second tier competition- the Confederation Cup before failing at the last hurdle as they were eliminated on the final day of Group A action.
The Kasasiro boys collected an impressive nine points from their six games, and following the 4-0 reverse against Club Africain in their last game, head coach Mike Mutebi assured media that he and the boys had picked valuable lessons picked ahead of the 2018 Champions League. Yet, with so much changing so fast over the past six months, this brings us to the question: can KCCA FC repeat or surpass last year’s achievements?
With the mass exodus that has happened at the club only months after attaining these milestones, it is a worrisome position for a club which had become Uganda’s model of doing things right over the last half a decade. Geoffrey Sserunkuma, Joseph Ochaya and Isaac Muleme are some of those who have left the club, with Derrick Nsibambi and goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan futures still hanging in the balance.
Moses Magero, KCCA FC’s publicist, however says the club remains confident they have enough to meet or surpass the level they reached last year. “Technically, only our coaches can reveal that [how ready we are] but administratively we have made new talented recruits in this transfer and we are hopeful they will deliver. However, everyone must know that clubs do not only survive on individual players, it is a task of a team of players to accomplish the club targets.”
Coach Mutebi mirrored Magero’s optimism, and was quick to downplay the impact of apparent unrest at his club ahead of the new continental campaign.
“We are ready enough to face the challenge that’s in front of us. And we are preparing for the upcoming continental game and other competitions too. I have confidence in these boys to perform well,” Mutebi explained before adding, “We brought in new players so as to get stronger and bring more hunger to the team. I am sure they are hungry for success and I am confident they can help us attain our goals.” Only time will tell if hunger can compensate for the inexperience in KCCA’s squad. At this point though, the signs look far from encouraging.
After this weekend’s tie, KCCA FC will host CNaPS SPORT in a return leg scheduled to be played between February 16-18.