Kampala Capital City Authority Football Club (KCCA FC) played out to a goalless draw against St. George of Ethiopia in the first leg of the first round of the 2018 CAF Champions League.
A barren draw is often a deceptive result for the host of the return leg, who carries the burden of forging a must victory to progress to the next stage. On the other side, the visitors cross legs waiting to pounce on a scoring draw.
Yours truly celebrated the result in Ethiopia nonetheless, despite knowing what is at stake for a team trying to make the group stages of the CAF Champions League for the first time. Having come eleven minutes close in the previous campaign.
In Ethiopia, it was the first time KCCA FC was keeping a clean sheet away from home on the continent under Mike Mutebi in seven outings.
The back-to-back FUFA Awards coach of the year has time and again reckoned about belief as the spine for his teams success in the past two years.
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It was that belief that saw KCCA FC rise again from the Champions League but recovered to make the group stages of the CAF Confederations Club last year.
That belief explains KCCA FC’s winning of all their home matches in emphatic style against seasoned teams like Club Africain (Tunisia), FUS Rabat (Morocco) and Nigerian outfit Rivers United last year.
Despite the poor run on the road that saw the 12 time league champions concede 10 goals in five away games before the last one against Club Africain, KCCA FC went toe-to-toe with the big boys and were very much competitive.
In their final group game, against Africain, KCCA FC needed just a point to advance but fell short as the Tunisians romped to a 4-0 in front of a 50,000 capacity crowd at the Stade Olympique de Radès.
While trailing 4-0, a draw in Tunisia between Rabat and Rivers United would see the Kampala side advance until a late penalty call, rescued a berth for the Moroccans.
For a club whose away form has been off color, departing Ethiopia with a cleansheet sky rockets a team’s belief, they have finally climbed above the timid line.
Deceptive, the new found faith could be, the result puts KCCA FC in a fertile position to advance, with the return leg at Lugogo which has become a fortress for the hosts.
Since the artificial turf was laid ahead of the 2016/2017 season, KCCA FC have only lost their once (against Vipers) and failed to score also twice (against Bright Stars and Maroons), both were league ties.
With that good run and the backing of the locals, I have no doubt that KCCA FC will build on the barren draw in Ethiopia to have a slice on history.
At this same stage last year, KCCA FC were eleven minutes away from the group stages of the Champions League until a defensive lapse was capitalized on by Anthony Laffor.
The one all draw made sure the then defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns lived to see another day.
Once beaten twice shy, I don’t see Mike Mutebi and his bench tumble at the same hurdle. The tactician has another bite at the apple to right the wrongs.
KCCA FC’s good run at home, especially on the continent is worth every mention, Only Mamelodi have denied the Kasasiro Boys victory at Lugogo.
And it’s only once that the now Timothy Awany captained side have conceded first at the ground, against Club Africain but recovered to win the tie 2-1.
Ten goals scored in six games at Lugogo and only four goals conceded, KCCA FC carry an upper hand into the March 17th return leg.