Believe it or not, there was once a time, when the mighty KCC (now KCCA FC) struggled to land the top prize in Ugandan football.
In the 1997 season, Tom Lwanga’s side, inspired by among others Jackson ‘Mia Mia’ Mayanja won their seventh title, but it would then take until ten years, in 2007-08, for KCCA to end their drought under their former midfielder, George ‘Best’ Nsimbe.
Since then, the Lugogo based side have been unstoppable, winning four more league titles; two under Nsimbe and as many under the current gaffer, Mike Hilary Mutebi.
Kawowo Sports’ Ismael Kiyonga look at the eight reasons behind the success of the second most successful side in Uganda.
Organisation and motivation
Like it or not, there is no better organised side and motivated side than the Kasasiro. In terms of management, everyone knows their job description and does it without infringing on the other.
In addition, they have a motivated staff right from the technical bench through the players with timely salary payments as compared to most of the competitors.
Blend of youth and experience in squad
To be champions, you need an experienced squad but again, you need hungrier young players eager to prove their worth.
This is in plenty at Lugogo where the likes of Geoffrey Sserunkuma, Robert Ssentongo, Habib Kavuma, Tom Masiko, Brian Majwega, Sulaimon Akinyemi, Ivan Ntege, Isaac Kirabira, Isaac Muleme, Joseph Ochaya, Benjamin Ochan and Denis Okot among others combine effort with young and hungry players in Paul Mucureezi, Derrick Nsibambi, Allan Okello, Timothy Awany and Noel Nasasira among others.
Where experience has always been outdone, hunger for success has always seen the team off the hook.
Geoffrey Sserunkuma goals
Imagine where KCCA would lie on the log without his 20 goals this season! The veteran centre forward was all but the club’s best player and scored important match winners to keep the side afloat.
‘Van Basten’ as Mutebi, his manager dubs him has really been lacking at many of KCCA’s competitors with the closest being Emmanuel Okwi at SC Villa (joined mid-season).
The urge to excel in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup made the squad better.
A lot of lessons have been picked by not only the players but coaching staff in the six continental games played so far and that has made work a little easier domestically with the team setting standards basing on continental opponents.
Squad depth and quality
Not many teams in the league have a squad as deep as KCCA’s. Can you imagine Mutebi has a luxury of leaving four-time golden boot winner out match day squads?
Then talk of Denis Rukundo, one of potentially the best right backs in the league, Isaac Muleme has only made a few appearances while of recent, Ivan Ntege has been more of surplus to requirements.
Masiko hasn’t played as much and so is Nigerian, Sulaimon Akinyemi. Former Police FC goalkeeper Douglas Kisembo has been absent for most parts of the season.
That’s enough to show how big a squad Mutebi has had at disposal for the campaign.
Home advantage – the artificial turf
A close look at KCCA’s nearest rivals Vipers and SC Villa, they have had issues in regards to the home grounds.
The duo has used not less than two venues as their homes this season – Vipers (Nakivubo, Namboole and Kitende) and SC Villa (Nakivubo, Namboole and Masaka Recreation Ground).
That lack of stability has had an effect on their season unlike KCCA who were stably at Lugogo.
Add that to the advantage of training and playing on the turf explains why they have only lost 5 points at home so far.
Weak and disorganized competitors
Despite winning the title with two rounds to spare, KCCA dominance was largely due to opponents’ disorganization and weakness.
At Villa Park, there has been change of guard on the technical bench three times (albeit surprisingly with no much need) and the same has happened at Kitende.
Such changes have had an adverse effect on the results even when KCCA was in a slump.
Imagine, the Kasasiro have won just five of their previous 10 league games but still top of the log by a whole eight points.
The champions are blessed to have a manager who thinks football all his life. Though not a born natural winner, Mutebi’s urge and love for the game has seen him instill that into his players.
His urge for excellence has seen him want to perfect everything and this has been transformed into the players.