The first of several group fixtures start on a losing note for KCCA.
(Photo credit: KCCA FC/Twitter)
CAF CONFEDERATION CUP GROUP STAGE
FUS Rabat 3 KCCA 0
RABAT - Ugandan representatives KCCA FC started off their CAF Confederation Cup group-stage campaign with defeat against Moroccan side FUS Rabat early Sunday.
The hosts took the lead as early as the seventh minute through Brahim El Bahr with a fierce follow-up header.
From then on, Rabat dominated possession for large periods of the opening half against a KCCA side short of a host of key players, including first-choice goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan, who was pivotal in the Kasasiro Boys' transition to this phase of the continental club competition.
Habib Kavuma, the captain of the day with Denis Okot missing, had a busy early morning at the back alongside Paul Musamali and Timothy Awany.
Derrick Nsibambi, who scored a last-gasp winner against Egypt's Al Masry on their way to the group stage, looked boisterous in attack, but lacked the sort of supply that would enable him turn such energy to goals.
In contrast, Ugandan league top scorer Geoffrey Sserunkuuma had a quieter morning than usual.
It was no surprise though. In truth, KCCA, who successfully defended their league title a few days back thanks to his goal-scoring prowess, faced a dominant Rabat side that forced them to do more defending than attacking.
And two minutes to the break, The Gambian Yusupha Njie gave the home side a deserved second goal to more than underline Rabat's opening half superiority.
Five minutes into the second half, Coach Mike Mutebi took off Brian Majwega and introduced Ivan Ntege to offer more industry in the midfield.
But Rabat remained dominant both in possession and in physique.
In the 77th minute, visitors' goalkeeper Douglas Kisembo was again beaten, this time by Karim Benarif, with Njie the provider.
The third – and eventually winning – goal came shortly after Isaac Muleme had drawn Aymane Majid into his first save of the game on the opposite end.
The conclusion was thus: three points lost on the road for KCCA, as many bagged by Rabat.
"Not the result we hoped for but one where lessons were picked," tweeted KCCA at the end of the game.
Yes. The Ugandan league champions will definitely have to go back to the drawing board and use that matchday 1 game as a learning curve for their upcoming fixtures.
Mid-March, they were ejected from the more lucrative CAF Champions League by holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, and now Mutebi and his side must know that it's not any easier here. It's only going to get tougher.
Next up, KCCA host Tunisian side Club Africain in a little over a week's time. In a round-robin format, they will follow that up with a duel against the other Group A side: Rivers United of Nigeria.
The Ugandan side will again play Rivers United after, before facing FUS Rabat and Club Africain, respectively.