By Fred Kaweesi in Lubumbashi
CAF Confederations Cup
Don Bosco 3 SCVU 0
SCVU v Don Bosco
A 3-0 defeat suffered at the hands of a more experienced and well-drilled opponent would deflate any team ahead of a return leg.
But that does not seem to be the case with Uganda’s CAF Confederations Cup representatives SCVU.
Uganda’s Cup champions were handed a rude welcome to African continental football but if there were any effects from the reverse result at the TP Mazembe Stadium on Saturday, they were rather of optimism than damaging to the team.
“It was more of a learning experience for the team and a bulk of the players we brought here. I am convinced that we can overturn the result. We know what we have to do and we will plan accordingly,” SCVU head coach Morley Byekwaso told New Vision.
Byekwaso opted for a defensive strategy and it backfired. He watched on helpless as his flawed approach, poor officiating and individual mistakes conspired to condemn his side to the worst possible start to their CAF adventure.
First half goals from Lungu Luka, Pembele Reagan and a third after the break from Sitali Joseph sealed Victoria University’s fate and meant that the youthful outfit will have to win by four clear goals in the return leg on Sunday to guarantee progress to the next round of the tournament.
A 3-0 win for SCVU could also secure a penalty shoot-out.
But considering that penalties are a lottery, the odds could still swing in favour of a Don Bosco side that looked more experienced and tactically organized in the first leg fixture.
Although first team stars Denis Iguma and Savio Kabugo are expected to return to the side from suspension, the absence of Benjamin Ochan could undermine the team’s match-winning prospects.
Ochan was forced to withdraw from the game in the 75th minute after suffering a hamstring injury. The youthful goalkeeper was replaced by Ali Kimera, but had before that, conceded three goals courtesy of two defensive mistakes, and a dubious refereeing decision.
“I had never known African football but we had plenty to learn in the game. It’s not an easy place. But we also have to face reality. Our league needs to improve. We need more competition to be able to compete on the African stage,” SCVU chairman Simo stated.
Lungu took advantage of acres of space presented to him just outside the box and headed past a flat-footed Ochan to help the hosts to the lead on eight minutes.
With the game destined for half-time and still clearly on a knife-edge, SCVU defender Benard Agele then gifted the hosts with the second.
Rather than play safe for a corner, Agele chose to keep the ball into play. He was then outmuscled by Lungu, who released Pembele for an easy tap-in on 43 minutes.
Sithali then struck the third after being presented a dubious free-kick just outside the box on 73 minutes. Agele’s would-be consolation was ruled out for unclear reasons.
“Apart from Muzamir, the rest of the players were a shame to Ugandan football. None of the other players performed to the standards I want in the national team,” Cranes coach Micho Sredejovic hinted.
Ochan (Kimera) 4, Agandu 5, Muleme 5, Agele 5, Mpuga 6, Jjuuko 4, Muzamir 6, Ssemakula 4, Okwi 4, Nsubuga 4, Mugerwa 5.
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SCVU face uphill task in 2nd leg