CAF Champions League 2018
Esperance de Tunis vs KCCA FC
Stade Olympic de Rades
Referee: Noureddine El Jaafari (Morocco)
KCCA FC will be out to start a new chapter in Ugandan football when they take on Esperance in their third group game at the 2018 CAF Champions League.
Ugandan clubs have always struggled against sides from North Africa with the Kasasiro Boys being the latest to test the wrath.
KCCA FC lost 4-0 to Club Africain last season in the Confederations cup but their coach Mike Mutebi is optimistic his side can pull-off a great result today.
“We expect to have a tough time in Tunisia as Esperance are leading the group and are at home, said Mutebi.
“But gone are the days when we got scared ahead of a clash with North Africans, we are now confident we can always pick positive results against them.
“We have made very good preparations and the players are confident especially after that win against AL Ahly at Namboole.
“We also learnt a lot from our loss in Tunis last season because we were not out played but we didn’t have the belief we could pick a desired result.
“We are going to play to win the game and not just seating back and let them come at us.
KCCA FC have been boosted by the signing of attacking midfielder Gift Ali and defender Bernard Muwanga this off-season.
Ali, one of the most underrated midfielders in Uganda will indeed add more creativity to the side and can also cause massive trouble via dead balls.
For Muwanga, he solves a ever-lasting issue at center-half for the Kasasiro Boys as Mutebi has always been on the look-out for captain Timothy Awanyi’s partner.
It however remains to be seen whether the tactician will stick on a back-three that will see Muwanga slot in on the left side of defence as he has been playing during the build-up games.
Midfielders Muzamir Mutyaba and Saddam Juma are also fully fit for the first time in a while and the inclusion of striker Shaban Muhammad in the squad eases pressure off the in-experienced Patrick Kaddu who finished last season as KCCA FC’s main striker.
Head to Head:
This is the first time the two sides meet in Africa’s elite club Competition.
However, KCCA FC played Tunisian side Club Africian at this stage in the Confederations cup last season. Winning one and losing the other of the two games. The Game in Tunisia ended KCCA’s hopes of progression to the knock-out stages as the lost 4-0.
Esperance go into the fixture top of Group A having won one and drawn the other of their first two CAF Champions league games this season.
Esperance have won two CAF Champions League titles in the past. Their latest triumph dating back to 2011 when they edged Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca 1-0 over two legs in the final.
They are on the back of their 28th Tunisian League triumph after winning the title in May.
They have lost only one of their last 14 Champions League games. The loss was a 2-1 defeat to Al Ahly on 23-09-2017 in Rades.
At home, the Tunisian giants have won 10 of their past 12 games (D1 L1).
KCCA FC head into the fixture occupying third spot in Group A with a W1-D0-L1 record.
The Kasasiro Boys have won six of their last seven competitive fixtures, the other being a 2-2 draw with Police FC in the Uganda Premier League.
In the Champions League, they have lost only one of their last five games (D1 L1).
However, they have not registered a victory in any of their last seven away games in the competition (D2 L5).
This is the first time KCCA FC is competing in the CAF Champions League group stages.