NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22- Ulinzi Stars stand-in coach Benjamin Nyangweso hopes Tusker FC win the Kenyan Premier League title to hand them an opportunity to play in the CAF Confederations Cup next year as runners-up of the GOtv Shield.
If Tusker wins the league, they will represent Kenya in the CAF Champions League, leaving the opportunity to play in the Confederations Cup to the losing Shield finalist.
Ulinzi had hoped to break a five-year wait for a domestic title but they fell to an Allan Wanga goal in the final played on Mashujaa Day on Thursday.
“It is a huge disappointment because we had really hoped to come out with something this season. We had chances, we couldn’t score and Tusker had theirs and scored. Now we hope we play continental football next season, it will be a good consolation for us,” Nyangweso offered.
Ulinzi switch their attention to the Kenyan Premier League with an away trip to Kisumu where they face fourth placed Western Stima on Sunday.
Nyangweso admits it will be a tough task to lift the morale of the players after the Thursday loss.
“For sure it is very hard to motivate them from here. It was a big thing for us, but I know my players. I will talk to them and hopefully we will bounce back with a good result against Stima. Now we need to focus and see whether we can make it into a top three finish,” the tactician added.
The same sentiments are shared by skipper James Saruni.
“We can’t even get ourselves to understand how things happened because we gave in so much. It is a very big set-back for us, but we need to rise back and focus on the four games remaining before the season ends,” he said.
Ulinzi are placed sixth on 38 points, three shy of Stima and having won only once in their last five league matches, Nyangweso’s charges are under pressure to bounce back and put their season back on track.
Stima though have an ambition of finishing in the top three and will give all to ensure they pick all three points from the tie.
“We know Ulinzi are tough and especially having lost on Thursday, they will want something to bounce back with. But it is a side I have faced for so many years and I know all their strengths and weaknesses. I am confident that I will pick all three points,” Western Stima head coach Henry Omino said.
The first leg match in Nakuru ended 1-1.