During the CAF Champions League preliminary round return leg against African Stars, KCCA fielded a team that’s clearly a work in progress but if they want to challenge on the continent they can’t play like they are playing against Mbarara City.
African Stars, even with their slim advantage, knew KCCA had to score a goal to advance so they did their homework well in terms of game management.
From the time I caught the game, African Stars were okay with KCCA passing the ball around but mostly square passes and not forward passes.
Gift Ali spent more time chasing down shirts solo and he couldn’t nick the ball and release the forward players.
Muzamiru Mutyaba looked tired already and with Gift chasing shadows, he was scraping around very deep.
In that first half, KCCA had no plan for the zonal discipline the Namibians showed. With KCCA committing many men forward, on one or two occasions, African Stars had the chance to hurt the home side.
The inclusion of Herbert Achai was the surprise, the poor lad was out of his depth. He failed to link up with his full-back Musa Ramathan on a couple of times rendering both wings ineffective as Mustafa Kizza was very busy with defensive duties for the first 45 minutes.
KCCA needed a goal early and they started the second half with more intent, but the introduction of Nicholas Kasozi changed the contrast of the game. His calm presence allowed Allan Okello, Mike Mutyaba to play high up the pitch.
The other turning moment in the game was a one-on-one save made by Charles Lukwago with the game still goalless. Had African Stars scored, the game would have been harder for KCCA. That save realised play and KCCA got a free-kick just outside the box and Kizza did the rest curling a ball through the wall for the goal.
With less than 10 minutes on the clock African Stars knew they needed to score a goal for them to stay in it but the quest for a goal came at a cost as some good interplay at the edge of the box between Mike Mutyaba and Allan Okello allowed the later find some space to fire in the second goal and secure passage to the next round for KCCA.
It was a big test for Mike Mutebi’s young side but a result with more lessons. While Mike Mutebi is obsessed with youngsters, he needs to know that playing on the continent in Africa isn’t the same as playing in Europe.
Most of the youngsters lack the build and muscle to challenge the big players, for example, the right-back Musa Ramathan and centre back Samuel Kato were mostly caught out because of power.
Sadat Anaku for all his promise has no experience to lead the line, a more experienced Erias Ssekisambu might be a better option.
Peter Magambo was solid today and helped his inexperienced partner Kato calm his nerves. Charles Lukwago has started leading and Mike Mutyaba is full of energy despite his age.
If KCCA wants to be a continental giant they need to learn how to play on the continent. Continental football is cut throw and one game can be the difference between lots of money and no money.
There is no room for error as they build a new side. The youngsters need to play a lot more in the league. Allan Okello burst on to the scene playing in a side with a lot of experience and now can carry his own but most of these new kids have been thrown in the deep end.
The next round should see KCCA face a better side (most likely Angola’s Petro Atlético) and you hope by then they would have sorted their team selection.