KCCA FC counting on in-form Muhammad Shaban vs. Township Rollers
KCCA FC coach Mike Mutebi is counting on wonderkid Muhammad Shaban to continue his recent hot streak when the Ugandan champions face Township Rollers FC in their CAF Champions League group-stage opener on Friday.
Shaban struck against his former club Onduparaka FC last month, and also netted four goals in the 7-2 demolition of URA FC and a double in the 3-2 defeat by Vipers FC to establish himself as KCCA's chief attacking threat ahead of their trip to Botswana.
"It is good that Shaban has got his scoring boots back at the right time, and certainly I am going to demand the goals from him in Botswana," Mutebi told KweseESPN.
"He's scored seven goals in the last three games, and that is good for a striker," he added. "I will demand that he also gets the goals where it will matter most in Botswana."
Shaban was the top scorer at the 2018 COSAFA U-20 Championship and is proving to be an asset for KCCA during the run-in in light of the absence of injured Derrick Nsibambi.
"I will not put pressure on Nsibambi because he is not yet 100%, but I will need the goals from Shaban because only goals can drive a team to the latter stages of the Champions League."
The talented starlet is also confident that he can continue his fine run of form, having already struck in continental competition so far this term.
"I like my form now and I continue to work hard to be able to help this club reach the next level of the Champions League," Shaban told KweséESPN.
"Our 3-2 defeat by arch-rivals Vipers SC last week is another factor that will motivate my players to go to Botswana hungry to prove a point," Mutebi continued. "The players know what is expected of them and know that getting maximum points away from home in a group stage of a Champions league is crucial.
"I have told my players that registering positive results in the group stage not only helps the club, but also markets them better," he added.
"The serious scouts look more keenly at players featuring in the group stage of the Champions League because they are the best clubs in the continent."
KCCA travel to Botswana without first-choice keeper Charles Lukwago due to suspension, but Mutebi is unfazed by the stopper's absence
"We have other capable goalkeepers who will take up Lukwago's position and this should not be a worry," he continued. "We shall miss midfielders Muzamir Mutyaba and Saddam Ibrahim Juma, who are out recovering from injury."
KCCA FC are the first Ugandan side to reach the Champions League group stages after eliminating CNaPS FC of Madagascar and Ethiopia's Saint George en route to the final 16.
They've been drawn alongside record eight-time champions Al-Ahly, Tunisian giants Esperance and first-timers Township Rollers.
"We are preparing for the team they will present to face us," Mutebi concluded. "I will prepare my team according to what style we want."
"All we shall need to do is to follow our system and play good football to defeat our opponents."