Kampala — It was never going to be a catastrophe, KCCA bowing out of the Caf Champions League at the hands of champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Yet you cannot help but wonder what could have been if the game had been managed better from the coaching perspective.
But what you cannot afford is get oblivious of the fact that these were defending champions who have been in these situations countless times, and they can punish you for every missed step.
This game was always going to produce several rich anecdotes, anyway. Anthony Laffor emerged from the bench after recess to literally silence the home crowd, cancelling Geoffrey Sserunkuma's first half strike as the South Africans progressed 3-2 on aggregate.
Sserunkuma's goal when he turned in impressive Brian Majwega's well-weighted cross from the left meant the 33-year-old striker had scored all four KCCA goals in the competition.
He netted home and away against both Angola's Primeiro de Agosto and Sundowns and is one of the top scorers in the competition. This was his 18th goal in all competitions this season.
Laffor finally victorious
It had to take an equally ever-green and disciplined 32-year old Laffor to stop Sserunkuma and KCCA's threatening fairytale. This was especially sweet for the Liberian because every time he has featured for a team in Kampala he has been on the losing side. His Liberia lost 1-0 in 2013 and, together with Denis Onyango, they were on the receiving end of a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the then KCC as SuperSport United were eliminated from the Champions League in 2009. "I'm happy to score and be on the winning side (on aggregate) this time," said Laffor.
Mutebi killed Majwega's vibe
This was arguably Brian Majwega's best game since the winger returned from a forgettable experience in Tanzania. The lethal left-footed winger sucked the life out of Sundowns right full back Anele Ngcongca with breathtaking pace and trickery, one of the runs producing Sserunkuma's goal and the other seeing KCCA's shirt number 18 failing to connect home. It was all going right until manager Mike Mutebi pulled off teenager Alan Okello and Paul Mucurezi for Akinyemi and Musamali after recess, forcing Majwega to the right midfield where he was largely ineffective.
Ochaya bows out, literally
He neither had a catastrophic nor a standout performance. Joseph Ochaya had to keep the defensive discipline to allow Majwega to do the tricks in the first half. But for Ochaya, this will be remembered as his last game in KCCA colours and last in the Champions League this season as he leaves to join his new Zambian club Dynamos.