Total CAF Champions League
Preliminary Round, Return Leg
Vipers SC vs Al Merriekh
St. Mary’s stadium, Kitende
Wednesday, 5th December 2018 4pm
Vipers Sports Club will seek to break their own jinx to progress to the next stage of the CAF Champions League and perhaps go all the way to the group stages, which is a dream for any Ugandan side.
Their only previous appearance in the coveted club championship was in 2016 and could not go past Nigeria’s Enyimba at the preliminary round.
Ahead of the return leg against Al Merreikh who carry a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, the job is well cut out for the Venoms and that is to win at St. Mary’s stadium on Wednesday.
Winning alone may not be enough but doing it without conceding will be prime target for Mexican coach Javier Martinez Espinoza and his charges who have had defensive woes in the previous games.
Vipers SC have not kept a clean sheet in their last six games across all competitions which would be a point of concern for Espinoza but he is confident his team will execute the task ahead of them.
Vipers SC Last 6 Games
SC Villa 1-3 Vipers SC
Kirinya Jinja SS 2-2 Vipers SC
Vipers SC 1-1 KCCA FC
Express FC 1-1 Vipers SC
Vipers SC 2-1 Paidha Black Angels
Al Merreikh 2-1 Vipers SC
Manager Javier Martinez Espinoza while addressing the media in a pre-match press briefing on Tuesday indicated that the team is fully focused to make sure they advance to the next stage.
“The team is prepared and we have had enough time to refresh from last week and all our focus now is to make sure we finish the job at home. It will be a tough game but the players are fully committed and I believe will give us the result we want,” He started.
“Like I said, we have to win and keep a clean sheet. It doesn’t matter how many score; 1, 2, 3 but the target is to stay in the CAF Champions League since we have all the necessary resources.
“We saw how they play and know how exactly how to hurt them. It was important that we scored away from home. We therefore just need to win the game and not allow them to score.” The manager added.
Dan Muzeeyi Sserunkuma came off the bench to score the vital away goal and a win with a clean sheet will be enough to send the Venoms to the next phase. Asked why the diminutive striker started on bench, the Mexican explained that it depended on the game situation.
“We were playing against a physical team that needed a lot of running and involvement so that is why we opted to start him on bench but I will give you assurance that Sserunkuma will start tomorrow.” He added.
Team captain Taddeo Lwanga also shares similar sentiments with the manager stressing that they are ready and committed to eject Al Merreikh.
“We are prepared as players for the game tomorrow because we know what is at stake and we would want to see ourselves progressing to the next step. We could have lost the first leg but this time round we shall be at home and hoping to make home advantage count.” Said the skipper.
Goalkeeper Fabien Mutomobora is ruled out due to an injury although some reports indicate he could have gone AWOL. Thus, Bashir Ssekagya is expected to return in goal
Striker Davis Kasirye who has been on the sidelines nursing an injury has returned to the team and will be available for selection.
The winner on aggregate will take on either GAMTEL from Gambia or CS Constatine from Algeria at the first round stage.