KCCA FC's CAF CL qualification is no fluke - Mike Mutebi
KCCA FC deserve their spot in the CAF Champions League group stage, according to coach Mike Mutebi, after they beat Ethiopia's Saint George to progress.
The Ugandan champions held their opponents 0-0 in Addis Ababa before beating them 1-0 in the second leg on Saturday thanks to Muhammad Shaban's winner.
They'll now take their place among Africa's top 16 sides in the group stage, ensuring six fixtures against three of the continent's biggest teams.
"I'm very proud of the lads because they have been very disciplined and enabled us to achieve our first target of qualifying for the group stage," Mutebi told KweséESPN.
"Many people might think that this qualification just happened like that," he added, "but we made it to the Confederation Cup group stage last year, and I told my staff that the Champions League group stage was our target for 2018.
"We have lost some players, have others out injured, but still continued to work hard," he continued. "We have been doing things our way and now we are still in contention for the league title and Uganda Cup as well."
Shaban was the hero as KCCA became the first Ugandan side to reach the group stage of the Champions League as he headed past Cranes stopper Robert Ondongkara early in the second half following a fine cross from Mustafa Kizza.
It was an entertaining clash, with Ondongkara denying Allan Okello and Muzamir Mutyaba, while KCCA's Charles Lukwago had to be on hand to stop fine efforts from Behailu Assefa and Abubekar Sani Abdela.
"It is a nice day to be part of this club and I look forward to the group stage now," Shaban told KweséESPN.
"I have always loved playing against the top sides in Africa, and now I have the chance with KCCA FC," continued the 2017 COSAFA Cup top scorer. "This is a great team with a very good coach in Mutebi.
"I will continue to work hard to ensure that KCCA FC can perform well in the group stage," he concluded. "The coach has always told us that we have what it takes to battle with the big boys in African football."
KCCA FC may find themselves pitted alongside the likes of Tout Puissant Mazembe, Al-Ahly and reigning champions Wydad Casablanca in the group stages.