Reigning Uganda Premier League champions Express FC earned a slim 2-1 victory in Friday’s CAF Champions League encounter against Al-Merrikh hosted at the St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende.
This special win marked their iconic return to Africa’s most prestigious club competition after a period of close to twenty-four years of absentia.
Ever consistent talisman Erick Kambale was at it again as he scored the opener in the eighth minute to grant the Red Eagles a magical early lead.
Bakri Abd Elgadir equalised for the opposition minutes to the conclusion of the first half before Martin Kizza converted Godfrey Lwesibawa’s pass to restore the host lead.
Despite not making the touchline on matchday, Express FC head coach Wasswa Bbosa seemed happy with the result and maintained his optimism for his side to progress to the next round.
“We played a good game, we were much more direct, and that is why we managed to score to win the game. We shall have to concentrate more in defense however when we play away next week with this advantage,” Bbosa made mention.
“We partly fell off our initial plan of not conceding so before playing the second leg. We shall also need to improve our attacking since we need to score at least a goal in Khartoum.”
Martin Kizza also spoke to the press after the game and highlighted the fact that the team were bemused by the manner in which they conceded the goal but maintained their optimism to progress to the next round was yet to waver.
“We honestly didn’t want to concede a goal. I didn’t even know we had conceded but we are happy that we won. What is left is going to Khartoum and having a good show so that we can progress,” Kizza highlighted.
Just like at Kitende, the Red Eagles head coach will not be on the technical bench as his team plays away in Sudan since the gaffer is a ‘CAF B’ license holder.
This makes him underqualified to make the touchline since according to CAF, the standard is of a ‘CAF A’ license or its equivalent (UEFA Pro License).
Simon Peter Kirumira, a ‘CAF A’ licensed, will continue to take charge of the team in this continental adventure but on a ceremonial basis.
The return leg will be played on Friday, September 17, 2021 with the tie-winner facing the winner between Equatorial Guinea’s Akonangui FC and Zambia’s Zanaco FC in the second round.