By Baron Kironde
Police FC carry a four-goal advantage to the Kavumba Recreation Grounds on Wednesday for the return leg of their Stanbic Uganda Cup Round of 16 game against Soltilo Bright Stars.
But even for their enormous advantage following a 4-1 victory in the first leg at the MTN Omondi Stadium on Sunday, there is still has a shimmer of doubt over whether the Cops will see out the tie.
The home side has made their home ground a fortress recently, winning three of their last four games at Kavumba, including defeating Paidha Black Angels 3-1 to overturn the Round of 32 clash and progress.
But against Police, they meet an opponent that possesses a better challenge than Paidha. However, assistant coach Simon Peter Mugerwa remains sanguine that the 2019 runners-up can still stun the Cops.
“It is still the first leg,” Mugerwa said before adding; “We still have a second chance at our home. We have always scored many goals in our home games on several occasions. So we need to make changes to give our selves a chance.”
“Yeah, we have 30% chance, they have 70% chances of progress, but it is not entirely lost on us. From the experience this season, we have scored more than thrice in different games, and that gives us hope of progress.”
Bright Stars will need to win by 3-0 to progress to the last eight. The last time they beat Police by such a margin was in December 2016. They have registered only one win over Police since 2017.
Bright Stars coach Baker Mbowa’s crime for the first leg was to name a second-string side that conceded thrice inside 30 minutes.
Even when Joseph Janjali pulled a goal back, Derrick Kakooza’s strike late on put the tie further away from Bright Stars.
For the second leg, Mugerwa warned that they will not leave anything to chance, declaring that a full-strength squad will be called upon.
Samuel Ssekamatte and Joseph Akandanwaho will be included from the start. The duo has been brilliant for Bright Stars in attack, combining for 20 goals in all competitions.
Police FC coach Abdallah Mubiru was quick to caution his side suggesting that they ‘cannot take anything for granted’ in the return leg and that they should prepare for another experience at Kavumba.
While Mbowa has the benefit of a fully fit squad, Mubiru has worries over the fitness of some of his star players.
Kakooza finished the first leg with a muscle injury. Yusuf Ssozi also complained of some pain in his calf before his substitution. The pair will have to undergo late fitness tests to ascertain their availability.
Forward Johnson Odong will sit out the game with a thigh injury, but right-back Denis Rukundo returns for the second leg after he was rested on Sunday.