Blame blunt strikers for Champions League exit
Atraco’s head coach Sam Timbe has blamed his blunt strikers for the team’s early exit from this year’s African Champions League.
After seeing his team held to a scoreless draw by Sudanese champions El Merreikh on Sunday, Timbe said that his strikers, squandered several chances and are to blame for the early exit.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Atraco needed to win 1-0 to progress to the next round but despite enjoying better possession and creating more chances, they failed to break down El Merreikh’s defence.
“I accept we were defeated not because we are a poor team but because we played poorly on the day. We created many chances but failed to score and this is not good football for me,” Timbe said, adding that the quality of his strikers (Hamis Kitagenda and Peter Kagabo) was very poor and stand to be blamed for the exit.
Meanwhile, the ex-SC Villa and Uganda Police coach confirmed that his captain the league top scorer, Jean Lomami was left out of the squad due to an injury.
“Lomami’s injury was very serious but still he wasn’t fit enough to play (against his old club) and I had no choice but to field the other strikers,” Timbe said.
Lomami, who has scored 13 goals this season is a hit on the local scene but has proved ineffective when it comes to international matches with Atraco and Amavubi Stars.
There were unconfirmed reports on the eve of the match claiming that the striker, might have received money from his former employers so that he does not score against them but the club and the player himself have rubbished the allegations.
The taxi-men club has only themselves to blame after failing to reach the first round qualifying stage of the African Champions League.
They huffed, puffed against Al Merreikh but could not find the lone goal they needed to set up a meeting against Libya’s Al Libya’s Al-Ittihad in the next round.
The result meant Atraco’s first experience of African club football ended after a 2-1 aggregate loss.
Their last continental appearance was during the 2006/07 season under Sam Ssimbwa when they failed to go beyond the second round of the Confederation Cup.
Having defeated Burundi’s Prince Louis 3-0 and Ethiopia’s Defense 2-0 on aggregates respectively, Atraco lost to Tunisia’s Gafsa.