KCCA FC set to inspire Ugandan teams in Africa - Ashaba

KCCA FC Ismail Kezaala/BackpagePix

KCCA FC Chairman Aggrey Ashaba believes that his side's progress in the CAF Champions League this season can inspire other Ugandan teams in continental competitions.

The reigning Uganda Premier League champions made history on Saturday when they eliminated Ethiopian giants Saint George 1-0 on aggregate to become the first side from the East African nation to reach the group stage of Africa's top club competition.

"The club has now broken the barrier and it will not be able to look back," Ashaba told KweséESPN. "It means that we must now consistently compete with the best of the best in the group stages in the Champions League.

"We also think that the whole country will benefit from our qualification for the group stage to inspire others," he added. "The other teams in the Premier League now think that since KCCA FC can do it, they can also do it."

Ashaba believes that KCCA's continental journey doesn't need to end in the group stage, and has tipped his side to step up to the challenges that lie ahead.

"Our players' ambition has grown and our ambition is that we go into the quarter-final stage," he added. "All this will call for good preparation.

"We are happy that we are now there in the group stage because the money we shall get will help us meet most of our expenses to travel and also prepare and pay the team," Ashaba continued, "but with our young squad, we have what it takes to get to the quarter final."

It was one of KCCA's homegrown stars - Muhammad Shaban - who netted the winner against Saint George to send the Ugandans through, but Ashaba believes that investment in new talent may be key to ensuring his side make the group stage on a consistent basis.

"Foreign players bring a positive dimension to the team and we shall push towards having a few perhaps starting next year," he confirmed.

KCCA are the only team from the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations to reach the group stage after Gor Mahia (Kenya), Al-Hilal (Sudan), Young Africans (Tanzania), Rayon Sport (Rwanda) and Saint George all fell in the First Round.

Jennifer Musisi, the Executive Director of KCCA's parent organisation, the Kampala Capital City Authority also revealed how the CAF Champions League heroes would be rewarded.

"We thank our players and the technical team for the good show," she told journalists on Monday. "We have decided that the playing team and technical bench will share $150,000 from the $550,000 that will come in for qualification for the group stage."