Just two months ago, everyone heaped praise on KCCA FC and manager Mike Hillary Mutebi for winning the 2019 CECAFA Kagame Cup, doing so in style with a squad comprised of rookies.
At the time, the manager had just promoted Musa Ramathan, Joseph Kafumbe and Sadat Anaku from their junior team and also brought in another young defender Samuel Kato Nemehimana from Buddo SS.
Literally, Mutebi had won everything there is to win in Ugandan football and extended his success story by winning the regional championship which had eluded KCCA FC since 1978 and the first by any Ugandan club in 13 years.
For a manager known to make bold decisions, Mutebi threw Anaku, Musa, and Kato into the deep waters and despite their inexperience, they put up a surprising performance to guide KCCA FC to success.
This was done in the absence of Patrick Kaddu, Timothy Awany and Allan Kyambadde who had just returned from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with the Uganda Cranes and Mutebi decided to leave the trio out.
By the end of the CECAFA Kagame Cup championship in Rwanda, KCCA FC had used close to ten players that had been promoted from their junior side. Allan Okello, Filbert Obenchan, Musitafa Kizza, Peter Magambo, Herbert Achai, Sadat Anaku, Steven Sserwadda, Musa Ramathan among others.
With such a squad conquering the region, Mutebi and the technical team seemed comfortable that these players would easily replicate the same performance when the new season gets underway.
Skipper Awany who had played a key role in KCCA FC winning the league title last season left for FC Ashdod in Israel, Kaddu joined RS Berkene in Morocco while Kyambadde was sold to El Gouna FC in Egypt.
Indicators of struggle
A 2-0 loss to Vipers Sports Club in the Pilsner Super 8 Final seemed to show signs that KCCA FC was headed for a tough campaign. They were, literally, torn apart but by a determined Viper SC side and failed to put up a fight in that game.
Even with the addition of Eirsa Ssekisambu, Simon Sserunkuma, John Revita and lately Keziron Kizito plus Nigerian import John Odumegwu, the Lugogo based has failed to impress thus far.
A dip in form for Allan Okello who seemed to have carried the burden of scoring goals plus Mike Mutyaba who is yet to find his scoring touch this season has greatly affected KCCA FC and it is evident that they lack the cutting edge in the final third.
KCCA FC could have gotten past Namibia’s African Stars FC at the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League but their performance both home and away left room to cast doubts.
In the league, they nicked hard-fought identical 1-0 victories against Wakiso Giants and Busoga United and could have gotten away with the results but not the performance and Mutebi was always quick to concede how his charges were not playing well.
Exit from the CAF Champions League at the hands of Angola’s Petro de Luanda coupled by the performance against Tooro United FC, Bright Stars FC, and BUL FC is another reason for KCCA FC fans to worry.
Are there things happening behind the curtains?
Whereas it is easy for us to settle for the things happening on the pitch and analyze what KCCA FC has failed to do well, there could be things happening off the pitch that perhaps could be responsible for the recent run.
Defensive midfielder Nicholas Kasozi had disagreements with the club management over issues concerning his sign-on fees. He was dropped from the team and decided to go back home (in Masaka) for some time.
He came out to refute the dispute between him and the club but sources close to the club revealed it was true.
When KCCA FC traveled to Angola to play Petro de Luanda, the club indicated the player was injured only to be summoned to the national team that was preparing to face Burundi in the 2019 CHAN qualifiers.
Unconfirmed reports intimated to this website that a section of players is disappointed with the failure of the club to pay their bonuses for winning the CECAFA Kagame Club Championship.
Does KCCA FC miss Awany, Kaddu and Kyambadde?
KCCA FC has struggled both in defending and going forward this season and for the first time since 2015, they lost a league game with a 3-0 score.
It would be easy to say the replacements for Awany, Kaddu, and Kyambadde were got with Mutebi always insisting Kato and Anaku are ready to fill the voids.
Awany was a strong pillar in the KCCA FC backline for the last two seasons offering both game reading and would bring the physical aspect in games where they faced robust strikers.
Musa, Kato, and Revita all promise to be good defenders but if there is anything they lack is pace and whether it is just a matter of time to work on it or that could be their weakness is something KCCA FC must look into.
Kaddu’s 32 goals in the 64 games he played for KCCA FC not be enough to explain how important he was to the club.
His game involvement, aerial prowess and runs in the area were very key in having the supporting cast of Okello, Mutyaba and others chip in.
Unlike Kaddu who had played at Kira Young and Maroons, Anaku comes straight from the junior team and he is burdened with the responsibility to score goals for a demanding team like KCCA FC.
The other striker, Odumegwu is new to the league and would certainly need not only to understand how KCCA FC plays but also the nature of the Uganda Premier League.
With just 5 games into the season, it would be quick to say KCCA FC is in a crisis but what cannot be underestimated is the fact that there are indicators of a tough campaign Mutebi and KCCA FC could be headed for.