- CAF Champions League | First Round (1st Leg)
- Friday March 10, 2017 @ 8PM (In South Africa) 9 PM (In Uganda)
- Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA) Vs KCCA (Uganda) – Lucas Moripe stadium
Ugandan champions face their biggest test in the quest for a maiden CAF Champions League group stage appearance with a date away to African Champions, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
The ‘Brazilians’ host the ‘Kasasiro’ in the first leg of the pre-group stages on Friday evening with either seeking a positive result to take into the second leg scheduled for a week later in Kampala.
Mike Mutebi, the visitors’ coach says his team has respect for Sundowns but they are not afraid of them and promised to stick to their style of play despite playing away from home.
“We have no fear,” he told the press before the team flew to South Africa on Tuesday. “All we have to do is respect them because they are African champions,” he added.
The flamboyant tactician whose side ejected Angola’s Premeiro de Agosto in the previous round is also unbothered by the players in the opposing team but his own players.
I am thinking about my players. What Okot (Denis) has to do, the abilities of Majwega (Brian), the abilities Sserunkuma (Geoffrey) has. I am not going to focus on the other team and we are not going to play football reacting to them. No, we are going to play our way.
Having won 1-0 at home and scored an important away goal in Angola to see them to this stage, Mutebi says a clean sheet may not be as important away from home as a goal and he says they will attack the hosts.
It is important we score and you can only score when you attack. It doesn’t matter whether we keep a clean sheet or not but an away goal is our target.
The fixture comes at a time when Sundowns and Coach Pitso Mosimane have limited choices thanks to a growing injury list that has among others, Ugandan goalie Denis Onyango.
Mosimane is a little worried but after resting some key players against lower tier side Mariveni in the Nedbank Cup, he thinks his boys will do the job.
That’s why I didn’t even [start] Lucky Mohomi because I don’t want to overload him, he’s not yet catching the rhythm properly at Sundowns. He’s a good player in midfield but you know Mabunda and Kekana are going to fight the Ugandans [Kampala] here – easy, because they can fight the Congolese or anybody.
Sundowns will miss the services of Denis Onyango and star man Khama Billiat – the latter has not featured since their 2-1 win over Platinum Stars last month, while Onyango suffered a knee injury in their 2-0 win over Bidvest Wits 10 days ago, Mosimane confirmed on Tuesday.
Those two have not trained yet.
But the hosts risk missing another goalie in Wayne Sandilands who is allegedly suspended for the clash as reiterated by the soft spoken tactician.
Wayne is suspended in my opinion – we’re still waiting for confirmation [from CAF] because remember Wayne collected a sixth yellow card when we played Zamalek here [at home last year].
When we went over there [to Cairo] he missed the last one, remember? But he misses two, so they carry over. The Super Cup is an independent game so he was not affected, so I don’t have Wayne [on Friday].
The good news however for the African champions is that Anthony Laffor is back and Ricardo Nascimento is also confirmed fit for the clash.
For KCCA, all is fine in the camp and besides Tom Masiko who was left at home due to injury, the rest of the boys are fine and raring to go.
Man to Watch
In the absence of Billiat and Onyango, Hlompho Kekana will be the man tasked to keep the visitors at bay.
Strong in the tackle and brilliant on the ball, Keke as famously known back home, will be tasked to stop Muzamiru Mutyaba and company from supplying the forwards but his knack for scoring important goals also make him dangerous.
Geoffrey Sserunkuma has scored in each and every match this year for KCCA and his experience will be vital against the South Africans.
The experienced forward, who had stints in South Africa with a number of PSL clubs has scored all KCCA’s goals in the competition thus far and will be the man the visitors must keep an eye on alongside Mutyaba and Paul Mucureezi.
What you probably didn’t know:
- KCCA eliminated South Africa’s SuperSport United in the CAF Champions League in 2009. Onyango and Laffor, now at Sundowns, were part of the South African side while Benjamin Ochan kept goal for KCCA then. Robert Ssentongo was also part of the Kasasiro.
- KCCA have never played in the group stages of the CAF Champions League while Sundowns are the reigning African champions.
- KCCA have only failed to score away from home in CAF Champions League once in 10 years – against Cosmos De Bafia of Cameroon.
KCCA FC starting XI
Benjamin Ochan (GK), Denis Okot (C), Timothy Awany, Habib Kavuma, Joseph Ochaya, Isaac Kirabira, Ivan Ntege, Paul Musamali, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Geoffrey Sserunkuma and Brian Majwega.
**This article was updated to reflect the confirmed KCCA FC starting lineup