NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Ulinzi Stars head coach Benjamin Nyangweso believes striker Samuel Onyango has the ability to step into the shoes of John Mark Makwatta who left the club for a stint in the Slovakian second tier with FC Nitra.
Onyango has scored three goals in four matches for the soldiers and Nyangweso is confident if he can keep his work rate on throughout the season, the absence of Makwatta who scored 26 goals in all competition last season will be diluted.
“He is playing very well. He runs throughout the game, creates chances, takes shots and I am pleased with how he has performed in the four CAF games we played. He has shown that he can rise up to the occasion so the expectation is on him to deliver,” the tactician said.
Ulinzi bowed out of the CAF Confederations Cup after a 4-3 aggregate loss to Egyptian side Smouha in the round of 16 but Nyangweso says they leave heads high especially after their performance in the second leg which they won 3-0.
“It was a wonderful performance from the team and everyone gave their best. That is what I would like to see more often from now. I think we can build on that performance heading into the new season and hopefully we can get to challenge for trophies,” Nyangweso stated.
“We have picked many lessons and experiences from the four matches. We are now a better side and our hunger is even bigger,” he added.
Ulinzi finished third on the Kenyan Premier League table last season and reached the final of the GOtv Shield where they lost 1-0 to Tusker FC. This year, the side has vowed to do better and quench their trophy thirst as they have not won a single diadem since their 2010 KPL triumph.
Defender Geoffrey Kokoyo who has been a mainstay in the club since 2009 is optimistic the positive start they have had will spur them on, adding they have picked plenty of lessons from their successes and failures.
“We know what best to do. We know how to approach matches better. This season we want to ensure we win something. We have a good team with good players and I know we can deliver. It is just a matter of working hard. It will not be easy but with the momentum we have, we want to start well,” the former Tusker FC and AFC Leopards stopper opined.
Ulinzi returned to training on Wednesday after their four day break with the only absentee being Onyango who is out with the national team.