Holders KCCA FC put Monday’s loss to Azam behind to edge Zanzibar’s KMKM SC 1-0 to claim their first victory of the CECAFA Kagame Cup on Wednesday evening at the Azam Complex.
The defending champions got off to a dismal start to this edition following a 2-0 defeat to Tanzanian Giants Azam but bounced back stronger through Herbert Achai’s goal to brighten their chances of progress to the semi-finals.
KCCA started in a bright mood, probing for an early opener, Julius Poloto’s freekick at the edge of the box saved by goalkeeper Nassour Abdullah after just two minutes.
Poloto then turned creator, beating a few defenders and crossing for Ashraf Mugume whose header was denied by Abdullah after 14 minutes.
After 20 minutes, the goalkeeper was this time beaten with Herbert Achai’s decent strike finding the back of the net, his team’s first goal of the tournament.
They calmed the tempo after the goal, dominating possession but not creating any threat for the rest of the half.
On 54 minutes, Morley Byekwaso’s side was awarded an indirect freekick inside KMKM’s box, but Brian Majwega failed to find the target, placing his shot over the bar.
At the hour mark, it could have been game over but the vibrant Poloto, who captained the side on the day ,was unluckily denied by the woodwork.
Denis Iguma was called into action five minutes later, clearing Samir Yahya’s goal-bound effort off the line, to his team’s relief.
Brian Aheebwa, who appeared rusty yet again on his second start since his injury return, was withdrawn together with Poloto for Charles Lwanga and Andrew Kigozi respectively, with 20 on the clock.
Lwanga could have marked his introduction with a goal but failed to convert Majwega’s brilliant through ball, the goalkeeper making a crucial save.
There was almost nothing to report for the rest of the match, save for Byekwaso granting Yasser Mugerwa his debut, coming on for Gift Ali with two minutes to play, as they held on to pick their maiden victory.
KCCA now lie second in group B with three points, behind Azam on six. The latter earlier beat Messager Ngozi FC 1-0 to extend their perfect start.
A victory or a draw for KCCA at Ngozi on Saturday, August 7, will have the Ugandan outfit progress to the semifinals due for Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
How they lined up
KCCA FC XI: Ali Mwirusi (GK), Herbert Achai, Peter Magambo, Musa Ramathan, Denis Iguma, Brian Majwega, Gift Ali, Ashraf Mugume, Julius Poloto(C), Bright Anukani, Brian Aheebwa
Substitutes: Hassan Matovu, Samuel Kato, Moses Aliro, Andrew Kawooya, Juma Balinya, Charles Lwanga, Sam Ssenyonjo, Hassan Jurua, Samson Kigozi, John Revita, Yasser Mugerwa
KMKM FC XI: Nassour Abdullah Nassour, Hafidh Muhammad Ali, Mwinyi Haji Mgwali, Richard Joviti John, Ibrahim Abdallah, Ibrahim Khamis, Samir Yahya, Is-haka Saidi Mwinyi, Abdul Rahman Othman, Mohammed Saidi Mohammed, Salum Akida
Substitutes: Vuai Makame, Ali Juma, Makame Haji Mgwali, Salum Musa Salum, Ahmed Is-haka, Adam Ibrahim, Iliyasa Suleiman, Said Khalid Hilali