Can Alex Isabirye power Vipers past Raja Casablanca?

March 18, 2023

New Vipers coach Alex Isabirye is going to be handed his first task in the CAF Champions League as his side host Moroccan heavyweights, Raja Casablanca today.

Vipers have so far played 4 games in the groupstages of the CAF Champions League.

They have lost 3, 2 against Simba and a heavy thumping from Raja Casablanca.

Their only draw from which they got a point was against Guinean side Horoya AC.

All these games were however under Brazilian tactician Beto Bianchi.

Things seem to be getting a bit better under new coach Alex Isabirye.

He won his first game against Wakiso Giants in the Stanbic Uganda cup after a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw.

This game will be played today under the floodlights at St Mary’s Kitende at 7pm.

Speaking ahead of the game, Isabirye said that he’s a competitor.

He’s therefore looking ahead for the game to show what he has in store.

“I am a competitor, I don’t participate, and if you’re a competitor you have to be at your absolute best no matter the situation and the opponent you’re facing,” Isabirye to Vipers Media after the team’s last training session on Friday.

“In the few days I have been here, I have tried to work on improving their confidence, and I know that they are a good group,” he explained.

The Moroccans meanwhile have already progressed to the knockout stages of the CAF Champions League.

Isabirye is however still confident that they can match the might of their superior opponents.

“They played the first game, and they know how tough it is to play against Raja, so it is now about us to show that we can be at those levels as well, and I believe we can get a result.”

“To the fans, we need your support. Without you it’s not the same, so please come and back us so that we can win together. The players will bring their best and they will fight for you.”

Vipers Deputy skipper Siraje Ssentamu is optimistic that they can still turn their fortunes around.

A rare win over the Moroccans could reignite Vipers battle out of the groupstages.

“We are playing a giant in this group, that have won all their games, and that proves how good a side they are. But that only works to motivate us to know the kind of opponent we are coming up against,” Sentamu said.

“We played them in the first game at their home ground, and it was really a very bad game for us, but we have to put that behind us now and have our focus on the game tomorrow.”

“It’s a game we want to show how good we are as a team. And I promise we are going to give all our best for the fans and for this club,” he added.

Team News

The Venoms however have quite a number of injury concerns.

Karim Watambala with an eye injury.

Frank ‘Zaga’ Tumwesigye suffered an ankle injury in training.

Captain Milton Karisa is out with a hamstring.

Murushid Juuko, Dennis Kiggundu and Marvin Youngman are all still out.