Vipers Face Raja Casablanca in CAF Champs League Match

Uganda’s representatives in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League, Vipers FC will on Friday play Raja Casablanca in the opening tie at the Complexe Mohammed V in Morocco.

This is the first continental test for new coach Beto Bianchi who joined the club last month after replacing Roberto Oliveira. Oliveira had guided the Vipers to their first-ever appearance in the lucrative group stages and became the only second Ugandan team after KCCA FC, which qualified in 2018.

The team flew to Casablanca, Morocco on Wednesday and arrived on Thursday raising doubts about the players’ physical condition. But Bianchi believes the team’s preparations back home will stand in at the moment.

“I think in the opposite way, my players are well. It is an award for us in this game. This is a very important stage in the CAF Champions League and we all are conscientious about this” he said.

The team will have to replicate their successful performances from the preliminary rounds, where they eliminated Olympic Real De Bangui from the Central African Republic and TP Mazembe in the second round.

Captain Milton Karisa says he feels no pressure facing an experienced team “The pressure is on them because they don’t know us but we know them. So, l doesn’t think we are under any kind of pressure. We are ready for tomorrow. Of course, it’s our debut game in the group stages but we aren’t under any pressure. We just can’t wait for the game,” he said.

The team has received a boost with the return of two key players. Defender Livingstone Mulondo has recovered from a fracture injury that kept him out for two months, and striker Yunus Sentamu returned to the team after battling a groin injury for the same amount of time. 

The technical bench boasts the depth of its squad after signing a couple of experienced players both local and foreign players before the preliminary rounds and qualifying for the group stages to join their vast squad ahead of the group stages encounters.

These include Ashraf Mandela, Lumala Abdu, and Murushid Juuko, who was brought in to replace Halid Lwaliwa in defense, and lately Martin Kiiza among others. 

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