NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22- With two weeks left before the 2018 season of the Kenyan Premier League kicks off, new Tusker FC head coach Sam Timbe was handed a reality check by Ugandan Premier League champions Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) in a 1-0 friendly loss on Monday afternoon.
Steven Serwadda struck the lone goal in the 23rd minute of the tie to hand KCCA the win, a reprieve after they lost 4-2 to Kenyan champions Gor Mahia on Saturday in Nakuru.
In the starting 11, Timbe fielded only five players who featured for the club last season with new boys Robert Achema, Eric Ambunya, Justine Omary, Apollo Otieno and Mathew Odongo all starting.
Ambunya started out on the left side of defense with Omary partnering Eugene Asike in defense. Achema started off as the second striker while Odongo plied one of the wings.
The visitors started on the front foot with Isaac Kirabira asking the first questions, trying to catch keeper Duncan Ochieng off guard with a dipping shot from distance, but the effort went over.
Tusker’s first opportunity of the game came in the 19th minute when Boniface Muchiri cut to his favorite right foot from the left wing, but his shot was well collected by KCCA keeper Tom Ikara.
KCCA who fielded a weakened side with most of their first team regulars away with the Uganda Cranes in the African nations Championship (CHAN) were enterprising and seemed hungrier with Allan Okello and Serwadda doing most of the work in attack.
The early pressure paid off in the 23rd minute when Serwadda tapped home from close range after KCCA turned over possession with Okello breaking off on the right before cutting back a cross inside the box.
Serwadda almost doubled his and the team’s tally 10 minutes later when he capitalized on a defensive lapse from the brewers but his shot from the edge of the six yard box went agonizingly wide.
Timbe was forced into a sub with 15 minutes left on the clock, pulling out Achema who had struggled to click into the team and he brought on another new face, Edwin Lavatsa.
The lanky former Gor Mahia forward almost announced himself in style when he glanced in a header from Muchiri’s cross, but the effort went wide.
In the second half, Timbe started off by pulling out Timothy Otieno for Mike Khamati while another new boy Peter Nzuki was introduced for Mathew Odongo. These were changes aimed at bettering the attack.
However, the second half had few chances in between with Muchiri attempting another effort with a shot from the left after drifting into a good shooting position, but the effort went wide.
KCCA’s teenage prodigy Okello caused some jitters in the 68th minute when he took on a daunting run from the right and drifted into the box, but his eventual shot was blocked for a corner by keeper Duncan Ochieng.
Tusker piled pressure in the final minutes of the match, but their efforts to get an equalizer went up in smoke.
KCCA will now play AFC Leopards on Wednesday at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos before completing their Kenyan tour with a tie against Sofapaka on Friday at the Narok Stadium.