Football Football

Tusker hold on to thin hope


MATANO-EGYPTALEXANDRIA, Egypt, April 7- Tusker FC are Kenya’s last hope of continental hooray when they take on Egyptian giants Al Ahly in their return leg of the CAF Champions League first round clash in Alexandria later Sunday.

After the meek surrender of Gor Mahia in the CAF Confederation Cup on Saturday after another Egyptian side, ENPPI, forced them to a 0-0 draw, Tusker are faced with a similar prospect since they trail 2-1 from the first leg in Nairobi a fortnight ago.

However, the Brewers who have been camping in Egypt remain optimistic they can cause what would surely be the biggest upset if they were to knock out the title holders and record seven-time winners of the elite continental club competition.

Speaking after a training session, Tusker FC coach Robert Matano applauded the player’s mental strength, hard work and preparation.

“We still have a chance to progress and all we need to take our chances unlike first leg where we failed to convert. We have learnt from our mistakes and we’ll do a good job,” he added.

Matano has assured local football fans residing in the country who have named themselves “Kenyans in Egypt” who will attend the match that Tusker will do their best to progress in the tournament despite the huge odds stuck against them.

“We haven’t ruled out the possibility on winning here despite it being a difficult venue. We are here for a win. We expect to go out on the offensive and score two clear goals,” Matano charged.

The head coach added an extra training session on Saturday with their opponents Ahly arriving from Cairo on Friday.

“Al Ahly is a good team. They possess great skill but the bottom line is we have to get past them in order to progress and this is our mission when we face them on Sunday.” Tusker skipper and towering defender Joseph Shikokoti said.

“We are optimistic that the standards of football in the country have improved significantly to earn us this result,” he added.

Gor crashed out the Confed Cup after settling for a barren draw with ENPPI in the return leg played in Nairobi on Saturday.

The result saw the North Africans progress 3-0 aggregate courtesy of their first leg win two weeks ago.
Gor had gone into the match needing four unanswered goals in order to progress and even though they put up a decent show, no goals were forthcoming.