Kampala — In his favoured 4-3-3 formation, Vipers coach Fred Kajoba customarily prefers going with one central striker and two supporting creative forwards.
At their Kitende base ahead of Saturday's Caf Champions League encounter with Al Hilal from Sudan, Kajoba now finds himself with a welcome selection dilemma since all four striking options; Ceaser Manzoki, Abraham Ndugwa, Muhammad Shaban and Daniel Sserunkuma seem to be rooting for the sole starting berth.
Based on resume and frame, Congolese import Manzoki would be the ideal first choice but considering he is yet to be tested at all, Kajoba may be forced to think twice.
Diminutive Sserunkuma has seen it all after stints with Gor Mahia in Kenya and Tanzanian side Simba but has lately been blunt in the league and requires extra motivation if he is to lead the line.
Ndugwa, whose solo strike at St Mary's Stadium helped Vipers dump out Sudanese Al Merriekh two years ago, is ready to pounce if called upon only that his conversion rate still needs polishing.
Allan Kayiwa, Paul Mucureezi, Ibrahim Orit and Milton Karisa are the creative kingpins that each striker must adapt to.
Enter recuperated Shaban, and you have a striker that fits the bill against a Hilal side that has been in action as recently as October. Excellent predatory skills, laudable aerial ability and with the gift to drag the game tide on his own, Shaban is the closest Vipers can claim for their departed goal-machine Fahad Bayo.
The injury layoff since April last year has taken none of his flamboyancy - the exact attitude Kajoba will require from his players to overcome the Hilal onslaught this weekend. "Every player has his impact on the team. Bayo had his good form but my return will add impetus upfront," he told the club website.
"I want Vipers to retain the league and also reach the group stages of the Champions League," said the temperamental striker whose goal against St George (Ethiopia) ensured KCCA reached the same milestone in 2018.
Relatedly, Vipers CEO Peter Njuba confirmed Hilal's arrival yesterday and were to be booked at Pearl of Africa Hotel.
CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Preliminary Round - SATURDAY
Vipers SC vs. Al Hilal Omdurman, 4pm
St Mary's Stadium, Kitende