By Fred Kaweesi in Lubumbashi
How times change! Just three years ago, Sports Club Victoria University (SCVU) was embroiled in Big League football.
There was little to suggest that SCVU would be rubbing shoulders with some of the top guns in the top flight any time soon. Only day dreamers would even have the slightest imagination that this outfit would —at this time of the year —be preparing for continental fixture.
But here we are previewing their CAF Confederations Cup fixture against DR Congo op- position. That’s the beauty of sport. That’s the unpredictability of football that when SCVU walk- out at the intimidating 18,000-capacity Stade TP Mazembe today, there will be enough reason to expect the unexpected.
Of course, it’s important to mention that SCVU have invested considerably and the re- ward for this has been a journey to continental football -one that could end well into the money- spinning brackets.
Coach Morley Byekwaso has asked his charges to enjoy the moment.
“We want to take it step by step. This is our first international game. We want to approach it in the best possible way and hopefully achieve something at the end of it,” Byekwaso stated.
Byekwaso’s grip on the club’s dressing room is iron-like.
Byekwaso in control
Since assuming the coaching seat, he has kept his charges in line without tinkering unnecessarily and in trying to achieve what his predecessors couldn’t; he has ensured an extra spring in the step of his players.
In terms of running off the ball, SCVU have improved marginally and that extra mobility transformed them into a more formidable attacking unit towards the end of the first round of the FUFA Super League.
For two seasons, when Byekwaso worked as Alex Isabirye’s deputy, he had worked with or been in a position to know too well the strengths and weaknesses of the players at the club.
But being a coach required a deep knowledge of the current generation of players at the club, the opposition and different tactics.
“I have invested a lot of time trying to understand each player and planning for the best approach,” he pointed.
The one area Byekwaso has shown clear determination to execute is discipline. It doesn’t matter who you are. The simplest reason is often the most important.
You can talk for hours about tactics, the significance of winning the title, but it doesn’t change the fact that discipline plays a significant role at a club.
SCVU have rules on punctuality and players must appreciate the guidelines on what they can and cannot do. To SCVU management, no player is above the other.
Early last week, Byekwaso recommended the suspension of three first team players over disciplinary issues. “Nobody is bigger than the club. We all have to follow the rules,” he pointed
SCVU’s strategy is to encounter the opposition with the same optimism with which Formula One drivers used to look at the rear end of Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari.
They have tried to create balance everywhere, in terms of the squad, age profile and a positive 4-4-2 in which all players perform to the highest standards.
Today in Lubumbashi will come their first stern test of how far this project that started in 2011 has come. SCVU squad in Lubumbashi:
Goalkeeper: Benjamin Ochan, Ali Kimera Defenders: Fred Agandu, Isaac Muleme, Bernard Agele, Martin Mpuga, Hamza Delu, Murshid Jjuko
Midfielder: David Ndihabwe, Yasser Mugerwa, Noah Semakula, Muzamir Mutyaba, Muwadda Mawejje, Peter Otai
Forwards: Simon Okwi, Dan Nsubuga, Dan Isiagi, Mathew Odong