NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 1 – Kenyan Premier League and GOtv Shield champions Tusker FC believe that the combination of nine new players and the retention of the experienced team that did well last season will be enough to see them replicate the same performance in 2017.
The 11-time league champions paraded nine new faces ahead of the new season and assistant coach Francis Baraza, who is also a new entrant into the team after quitting his post of head coach at Chemelil Sugar believes they have found the right balance to do even better.
“We have trained for the last four weeks and the levels of fitness are now at least 80 percent. Looking at the new players and the ones that were there last season, I am very sure we will make a good side this season. They have shown the spirit and hunger needed and the competition for places is very high,” Baraza opined.
The 2006 KPL winner with Sony Sugar is part of a new technical bench at the club that includes Ugandan George ‘Best’ Nsimbe as head coach and Haggai Azande as the keeper trainer.
Among the new players, Nsimbe has brought with him defender Marlon Tangauzi from Ugandan Premier League side The Saints FC.
“I know Marlon because I have been with him in Uganda for a long time and the qualities he brings on board to the team are great,” Nsimbe said of his new acquisition.
The 26-year old Kakamega born defender has schooled and been raised in Uganda and was a one-time call-up to the Uganda Cranes under-20 team. This is the first time he returns to the country and Tusker will be his first club.
“I feel good to be back home but I know the work has only but started. There is so much expectation on me but I am ready for the challenge. Tusker is a great team with good players like Humphrey Mieno, Allan Wanga and it is such a huge privilege to be here. Competition for places will be tough but I believe in hard work,” the soft spoken Tangauzi told Capital Sport.
Also joining the club is winger Abdul Hassan from Tanzanian side African Lyon, left back Samuel Olwande from Chemelil Sugar, centre back Vincent Omumbo from Thika United, striker Victor Ndinya from Bandari, Ugandan midfielder Moses Ndaula, Sidney Ochieng from Palos FC, youngster Evans Ochieng while goalkeeper Bryne Omondi returns to Ruaraka after spending last season on loan to Agro Chemicals.
“We are confident that these players together with the ones who we retained will be of great help to the team in the new season. We have gone for young blood which we know is a good investment for the future,” Tusker FC vice chairman Daniel Aduda said.
Meanwhile, Ndinya speaking after being unveiled hopes the upscale from Bandari to Tusker will be his good luck charm as he eyes more call ups to the senior national team and a possible debut this year.
“The exposure and challenge at Tusker is bigger than at Bandari and that is why I made the decision to come here. I know it is a big club and I wanted somewhere I could get a big challenge. My target is to score 10 goals this season and possibly get more call ups to the national team,” Ndinya who has been a consistent figure in the junior national team levels said.
Tusker will be getting into the final bend of preparations with their focus being the first leg CAF Champions League preliminary tie against Mauritian side AS Port Louis 2000 on February 11.
The brewers have retained a big chunk of the squad that won the two titles last season. Among the first team players to leave the side include goalkeeper Martin Musalia, utility player Osborne Monday.