Uganda’s KCCA threatens Rivers United’s CAF Confederation Cup dream
They came into Nigeria at the weekend with one mission: To repeat their 2-1 defeat of Rivers United when they meet today in the reverse fixture of their CAF Confederation Cup group stage tie.
Today’s game against Rivers United is KCCA FC’s fourth group tie of the CAF Confederation Cup and the Ugandans believe a win will booster their chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals of the competition.
KCCA on Thursday defeated Paidha Black Angels in the Uganda Cup to complete their first-ever domestic double and according to their team manager, Mike Mutebi, the players are in the right frame of mind to win their maiden away continental victory this year.
Mutebi told the Ugandan Observer that: “Seeing the way we have been playing of late, there is a clear pattern of growth in the team. The players understand the game more now, which is why they are executing the tactics better.”
Echoing his manager’s optimism, star winger said: “There is a feel good factor in the team today. We are full of confidence, and clearly not afraid of Rivers.”
Goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan is convinced they will make the quarterfinals provided they are bold and fearless: “After where we have come from, the fear has subsided surely, and Rivers is a team we know so well now,” he told the Observer.
KCCA has lost all the four away games they have played on the continent this year. To stand a chance of making the quarterfinals, they will need to at least secure one away draw. But that could be a difficult task for the East Africans, who will be confronting a resurgent Rivers United buoyed by the usual home support.
Since the turn of the season, Rivers United have gradually been coming out of the slide that threatens to mar their season after the heroics that saw them finishing second in the Nigerian league. Things were so tough for the ‘Pride of Rivers’ that at a point the management of the club decided to suspend their long serving coach, Stanley Eguma. But that seems a distant memory as the club have gradually rediscovered their groove.
Speaking on the tie, Rivers United defender, Ayobami Asekunowo at the weekend called for their fans’ support in the quest to dismantle the Ugandan invaders.He said: “We would appreciate the fans to come out to cheer us on as we fly the Nigerian flag on the continent,” Asekunowo told a local website.
“Our fans have been fantastic but we shall appreciate it more to have more fans fill the stands at our home ground. The loud cheers as always motivate the players and it also energises us to keep fighting on. The support shouldn’t only be at the stadium, for those who will not be around the stadium, they should express their support on social media as well.”