IT is make or break for KMC FC, when they play Rwanda’s AS Kigali today in a decisive return leg of the CAF Confederations Cup preliminary round, return leg at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The Kinondoni Municipal Council team under the tutelage of Ugandan Head Coach, Jackson Mayanja, is looking to write history in their first appearance in the continental second tier inter-club tournament by eliminating the Rwandese and cruise into the first round of the tournament.
KMC held AS Kigali to goalless draw in first encounter at Kigali Stadium on August 11th this year, and they need to win or avoid a draw with goals for them to dump AS Kigali, to be a surprise pack in the tournament despite their freshness.
KMC earned a place in the competition after settling fourth in the last season Mainland Premier League. With experienced goalkeeper, Juma Kaseja between the posts, KMC are in high morale and motivated ahead of today’s game.
In run up to the match, the team received a major boost, after signing a five-year 1bn/-sponsorship package with sport betting firm, M-bet.
Mayanja said today’s encounter is going to be an open game, saying that both teams will seek to score after the barren draw in the first leg tie in Kigali. He insisted that for them, the objective is to post positive results and proceed into the next round.
Despite being ready, Mayanja said that his squad will miss the service of some of their players including their newly signed striker Salim Aiyee, who is nursing injuries.
KMC will also miss former Gor Mahia midfielder Jean-Baptiste Mugiraneza, and defender Janvier Basala Bokungu due to various reasons.
The team will now bank on their attacking midfielders Hassan Kabunda and James Msuva.
On his part AS Kigali coach Eric Nshimiyimana is hoping to turn around the table after his side being held to a barren draw at home.
“We need to concentrate on the match as it is going to be huge. We have prepared well for the match which is the final for us, a must-win,” quoted saying Nshimiyimana.
“In the first leg, we were not aggressive in front of the goal. We gave in to all the duels by our opponent. We have retreated and usually when you do not win duels, the team that does it wins.” he noted Things are not helped either with the loss by Nshimiyimana’s boys to Police FC in a warm up game that was played at Amahoro National Stadium, in which the latter won 3-1 against AS Kigali.
Winner between AS Kigali and KMC will play either Uganda’s Proline FC or Malawi’s Masters Security Service in the next stage. After today’s game another country’s representative in CAF Confederation Cup Azam FC will tomorrow host Ethiopian side Fasil Ketema in the return leg tie.
The ‘ice-cream makers’ club face a daunting task following their 0-1 defeat away in Ethiopia.
The day will also see Young Africans battle Botswana’s Township Rollers at the National Stadium in Gaborone in their CAF Champions League preliminary round second leg clash, with high hopes of surprising their hosts for a place at the next round.
Yanga need at least a win to progress after a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam in the first leg two weeks ago.
Yanga Head Coach Mwinyi Zahera believes his charges are capable of beating Township Rollers in Gaborone and go through the next round, and has urged his players to stay focused on the last days of training.
“We had chances to win the first leg but we were not lucky enough to do it. We played two friendlies that didn’t help us much but I believe we still have time to prepare our team for the game,” said Zahera.
“It is a tough game but it is up to us to perform. They didn’t beat us at home but we can get good results away. Our target is to perform well,” he added.
Yanga’s Ugandan-import, Juma Balinya added to his trainer’s view calling for a united front in their quest for a convincing result that will ensure their continued stay in the premier continental club championship.
“Township Rollers is a good team. They press high and their movements are very good,” said Balinya who joined Yanga this season from Police FC of Uganda.
“However, we shall not worry much about that. We need to stay focused and train for the game. I am confident that if we play well as a team we can beat them and move away with victory,” he added.
In a build-up to the encounter, Yanga played two friendlies ahead of the fixture, losing 2-0 to Polisi Tanzania in Moshi, before edging AFC Leopards of Kenya 1-0 on Sunday at Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium, Arusha.