Many times it looks like KCCA manager Mike Mutebi doesn’t prepare his players well for away games. Until Wednesday’s 0-0 with St George in the Caf Champions League, pundits have been castigating Mutebi for approaching away games in the same manner he does for home fixtures.
But Mutebi says he has been working on his players’ ingrained mentality that they can’t win away from home. “At times, even when we lead games, these players don’t believe it is them doing so and end up throwing the advantage. It applies even to fans as some predicted doom when we faced the Arabs (Fus Rabat, Al Masry and Africain) last season.”
Mutebi had insisted KCCA can’t sacrifice playing ‘our way’, even away, ‘because it is the tradition they are building to gain respect from African top teams.’
This however tilted a bit against the Ethiopians on Wednesday, with Mutebi employing a cautious approach that yielded their first clean sheet in eight away games.
KCCA started with one striker, Derrick Nsibambi, supported by a midfield cast of Isaac Kirabira, Allan Okello, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Paul Mucureezi, and Julius Poloto. They defended in numbers and counterattacked to force saves from St George custodian Robert Odongkara. The back line of Charles Lukwago (custodian), Filbert Obenchan, Timothy Awany, Habib Kavuma, Mustafa Kizza looked improved and solid. “The times of blaming referees for away losses are now gone leaving us with only one option of scoring the few chances we create. Sadly we are yet to do that perfectly on foreign soil,” Mutebi told SCORE.
Mutebi says they must adapt the fighting spirit of ‘smaller clubs’ in Europe like Ostersunds (Sweden) that recently stunned Arsenal at Emirates stadium in the Europa League.
Facing Madagascan outfit CNaPS and St George was supposed to, at least on paper, be an easier route for KCCA to the lucrative group stages, and Mutebi is firm they are now on course to achieving that. Skipper and defensive pillar Timothy Awany says they have worked on the fear and complacency they have been exhibiting in away games. They conceded a win in the 93rd minute against CNaPS in Antananarivo last month. “We have worked on the defensive mistakes and complacency we have been encountering and we are ready to perform this campaign,” Awany reveled. KCCA is expected to rely on a perfect home record to eliminate the Ethiopians next week in the return leg at Lugogo.
KCCA’S LAST AWAY GAMES IN CAF TOURNAMENTS
Primero Agosto 2-1 KCCA, Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 KCCA, Al Masry 1-0 KCCA, Rivers 2-1 KCCA Club Africain 4-0 KCCA, FUS Rabat 3-0 KCCA CNaPS 2-1 KCCA, St George 0-0 KCCA