CAF Champions League
KCC FC v El Merreikh
KCC FCâ€™s lunch yesterday was less about the sumptous items on Namboole Hotelâ€™s menu but the food for thought served by club tactician George Nsimbe.
His precise discussion largely involved a plea to two of his first team stars, Robert Ssentongo and Patrick Ssenfuka.
The coach reminded the two of their qualities, which among others include, their willingness to â€˜forgive and forgetâ€™.
That trait will be of particular relevance after the nasty incident that saw them involved in a fist-fight at a training session on Wednesday.
With the mood between the pair later best described as wonderful, Nsimbe then challenged them to prove to their fans that their training ground brawl was just a reminder of the grit their continental opponents El Merriekh should expect at Nakivubo today.
Ssentongo and Ssenfuka are aware of whatâ€™s at stake in todayâ€™s CAF Champions League fixture and have promised not to let their differences get in the way of the clubâ€™s pursuit for glory. The relationship between the two has since been reported cordial, and it is that kind of togetherness that will prove extremely fundamental in overcoming El Merriekh.
Ssentongo has promised to shake each of his teammatesâ€™ hands and, where necessary, offer words of encouragement.
â€œThat is history now. We have forgotten about it and are focused on the game,â€ Ssentongo stated.
If KCC midfielders Ssenfuka, Jeremiah Ssebuyiira and Anthony Bongole hand strikers Brian Umony and Ssentongo the necessary support, it will allow the two to work their magic, the sort of magic that has helped KCC eliminate previous opponents Ferroviario de Maputo and SuperSport United.
Nsimbe has asked his charges to compress the game and keep the tempo as high as possible.
â€œWe need two goals here. I am extremely happy that Ssentongo and Ssenfuka have made up, so I expect a good game from my team,â€ Nsimbe pointed.
The pain in El Merriekhâ€™s ranks will stem from Nigerian strikers Endurance Idahor and $2.6m-rated Stephen Worgu, â€“â€“ top scorer in the previous Champions League edition.
Diminutive but powerful, Idahor is an instinctive goal-poacher and can also run the channels or blast home from outside the box. Worgu on the other hand can also hold off defenders better than most.
If KCC central defenders Moses Musoke, Omar Hitman and full-backs Ausi Kaya and Moses Muhindo can thwart their deceptive movement into the box, then KCC should be good for glory.
The visitors will play an attacking game, applying consistent pressure on KCC with speed and power up the middle through Malian midfielder Lassana Fane and Nasreldin Alshigail.
That and the devastating finishing of Idahor are what KCC should avoid.
The positive for KCC is that their lead striker Umony has excelled against the same back-four that El Merreikh will assemble.
Amir Damar, Balla Gabir and goalkeeper Hafiz Mohammed, were part of the Sudanese national team defence that Umony overwhelmed as Uganda beat Sudan 2-0 in a friendly in Khartoum last month. Good luck!
KCC will need real fighters