NAIROBI, Kenya, June 16- Tusker FC head coach Paul Nkata is not giving up hope of guiding the Brewers into the final of this year’s Kenyan Premier League Top 8 championship despite heading into Sunday’s return leg with a 2-0 deficit against Gor Mahia from the first leg.
Tusker, who have won the tournament twice in 2013 and 2014, were made to sweat last weekend with goals from Jacques Tuyisenge and Enock Agwanda condemning them into a mountain to climb in the return leg.
But Nkata, under pressure to deliver silverware at the Ruaraka based club is not about to give up on an early chance to dot the team’s cabinet with a trophy.
“It can be done. 2-0 is quite a low score-line and when we play in the second leg I know we will be better and overturn that deficit. I am quite confident in my players that we can make it to the final,” Nkata, who led Muhoroni Youth to the semi-final of the GOtv Shield last season, offered.
The Ugandan coach disclosed they could not perform at their best in the first leg due to lack of fitness as they had only trained for a small period of time having taken a short break after the conclusion of the first leg of the Premier League.
“Most of the players were heavy and you could see that they struggled to run throughout the match because we had not trained well. But now we have had one more week and definitely on Sunday a difference will be seen,” the coach opined.
Tusker, leaders of the Kenyan Premier League standings will hope to be second time lucky after being eliminated by Gor last season 4-3 on aggregate at the same stage.
They will have an option of fielding three of their new players acquired during the recently opened transfer window. Robert Omunuk returns to the team after a one-and-a-half spell at Sony Sugar while Nkata has brought on reigning KPL young player of the year George Mandela from Muhoroni Youth.
Tusker has also signed Ugandan midfielder Hashim Sempala from Bidco Uganda Limited and Nkata believes the arrival of the three will strengthen the team especially for the second leg.
Captain James Situma dreams of lifting his second career league title with a different team having guided Sofapaka to the same fate in their debut season in 2009.
Situma has been a utility in the Tusker team and believes the team can build from their first leg performance to pull through to the championship.
“We have a good team and everyone is working hard. We have experienced players who have the character and know what to do in critical times and I believe they can help us pull through,” Situma told Capital Sport.
“It has been my dream to win the league having done it with Sofapaka. That’s what pushes me to work hard in every match and maybe this dream can come true this year.”
Tusker last won the league in 2012 with Gor Mahia dominating to win all the past three titles.