10 Feb, 10:12
Uganda's only delegate in the continental elite club football, KCCA FC, start their campaign on Saturday in Madagascar.
They face Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale Sport - commonly known as CNaPS - at the Toamasina stadium in Miarinarivo from 14:30 PM local time.
Under Mike Mutebi, The Kasasiros, set the bar high last year by becoming the first Ugandan team to reach the group stages of a Caf interclub championship when they eliminated Al Masry from Egypt to reach the confederations cup group stage. The achievement was rewarded with US $ 275,000 (approx Ushs. 0.9Bn).
With their free-flowing style, they managed to beat Club Africain, FUS Rabat and Rivers United in Kampala and losing all the corresponding fixtures in the groups.
The team's form and lack of a second-approach away was the achilles heel and could be the main concern when they face CNaPS.
Their first opponents, CNaPS, have not performed well in the last four consecutive seasons on the continent but have certainly not lost a match at home with four wins including against Kenyan giants Gor Mahia twice, Wydad Casablanca and Township Rollers (Botswana) and stalemates against Liga Muçulmana (Mozambique) and Coton Sport (Cameroon) on the records.
Mutebi relaunches his quest for the elite trophy without a big chunck of players who largely contributed to the fairytale run last year.
They include goalkeeper, Benjamin Ochan who has been cast adrift. The keeper is not among the three registered after the club opted for a younger blood in Tom Ikara.
Others who are not part of the campaign include Isaac Muleme, Vincent Kayizzi, Tom Masiko, Geoffrey Sserunkuma and Ivan Ntege.
“We reached the CAF Confederation Cup group stage last year and our target is the CAF Champions League group stage now," Mutebi told journalists before leaving for Madagascar.
"The young players like Allan Okello and Mustafa Kiiza have now grown up and can handle the pressure," Mutebi added in relation to the departed players and experience in his youthful squad.
KCCA FC Probable lineup
All eyes will be on the youngster, Okello, who is expected to marshal KCCA's midfield in the absence of Muzamir Mutyaba. He is likely to operate alongside Saddam Juma and Isaac Kirabira to sit deep while Paul Mucureezi adds to the creativity as Shaban and Nsibambi lead the hunt for goals.
Charles Lukwago, Filbert Obenchan, Mustapha Kizza, Timothy Awany, Isaac Kirabira, Allan Okello, Shaban Muhammad, Derrick Nsibambi and Sadam Juma.
The winner of the match will play the equivalent in the Saint George-Wau Salaam pairing.