By Shafic Kiyaga
One of the most anticipated matches of the season, and undoubtedly the biggest fixture of this match day takes place on Friday, as Onduparaka host KCCA FC at The Greenlight Stadium in Arua.
Both teams are in the upper spectrum of the StarTimes Uganda Premier League’s hierarchy and would seek to strike an early blow to one of their direct rivals in the contest to finish in the top places.
Onduparaka and KCCA FC come into the match on the back of vastly different results in the last game week, with the Kasasiro boys showing rare fragility of themselves under Mike Mutebi’s tutelage in the goalless draw at home to Kirinya Jinja S.S. Onduparaka, on the other hand, made hard work of it, but ultimately prevailed in a 1- 0 victory over SC Villa at Namboole
KCCA FC must rise over the unspoken squabbles, and put in a dominant display against Onduparaka to pick up all three points especially after failing to win against the caterpillars since they joined the top flight division registering only a draw from the two encounters
The Mutebi way, as we are led to believe, would be to approach this fixture with a swashbuckling, all-action attacking plan and slay Onduparaka with the kind of celestial football capable of unlocking the gates of heaven as we’ve witnessed a couple of times at Lugogo.
In reality this game is incredibly tricky and Mutebi’s usual approach would be sacrificed given the unavailability of some of his first team regulars and what his opponents are capable of producing at home. He therefore will ensure his team is solid in defence and takes advantage of mistakes.
Mutebi won’t get his players to employ a dominating, high pressure style of football against such a strong opponent but will defend in a mid or low-block, probably in a 3- 5-2, attempting to win the ball near the halfway line and counter quickly. Onduparaka will be aware of this strategy and foul any player who threatens to break away on the counter-attack before it becomes a problem as Mwebaze’s side are accustomed to play.
This is not the game for KCCA to become possession passing kings. Onduparaka will foul KCCA if they lose the ball as was the case last season, usually committing their crimes around the halfway line and preventing teams from gaining any attacking momentum.
A worrying feature of KCCA’s games so far this season is that it’s been far too easy for opposition teams to easily stop them from playing through their defensive lines and win the ball back from their midfielders, particularly Muzamir Mutyaba and Saddam Juma with both players registering more negative passes than forward passes and their manager was quick to criticize this saying that “they just rotate around with the ball”.
KCCA and Onduparaka have met a total of seven times in all competitions, with KCCA’ s rich history expectedly seeing them have the advantage, having won four of the fixtures , losing twice and drawing once. With KCCA scoring 17 times while Onduparaka have scored a meager seven goals.
Onduparaka did make their business early in the transfer window especially with the acquisition of tactician Asaph Mwebaze from prisons-side, Maroons. The advantage of this is that Onduparaka have one of the most balanced teams in the division, with most of their players having spent the last two seasons together.
Mwebaze will miss the services of skipper Rashid Toha whose out injured but he will be mightily boosted with Vianney Ssekajjugo’s recent league form to go with his performance in the FUFA drum finals.
Former KCCA FC captain Dennis Okot, midfielder Solomon Okwalinga and forward Ceaser Okhuti will provide an insight and know how on what KCCA’s approach will be and seem to have settled into the team despite their transfer squabble.
Midfield stalwarts Abel Eturude, Gaddafi Gardinho and forward Ssekajjugo have been crucial for club and are expected to lead their creative fronts. Custodian Nicolas Sebwato will again feature between the sticks but the impressive pairing of Ayiko and Hussein, in front of him will make for a difficult afternoon for KCCA’s forwards.
Gift Ali, Bernard Muwanga, Julius Poloto, Peter Magambo, Herbert Achai and Steven Sserwadda (exams) are still sidelined with injuries while Patrick Kaddu, Timothy Awany, Charles Lukwago and Saddam Juma have just returned from national team duty.
But Mutebi was quick to point out that he has the players capable of getting 3 points.
“We can get a positive result if the players perfect the things they are supposed to do then we stand a chance. We should also look for ways to destabilize their defensive organization because they are a team that is very organized off the ball and they do not necessarily park the bus.”