NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Tusker FC head coach George Nsimbe has admitted it will not be a walk in the park replicating the work of his predecessor and fellow Ugandan Paul Nkata and win a double with the brewers.
Nkata made history by leading Tusker to both the Kenyan Premier League and GOtv Shield titles for the first time and Nsimbe who has never achieved the feat in his coaching career knows it is a tall order.
“I know it is not going to be easy. My brother senior coach Nkata did wonders here though I also did wonders in Uganda. Winning the double is not easy. I have never won the double personally. I have only won the championship with KCCA and Vipers. It is not going to be easy to do that,” Nsimbe, who also coached Tanzanian side Azam FC, revealed.
Having spent the last four weeks of pre-season training with the players, the coach is optimistic they have shown enough hunger to defend the twin titles and probably add more with the KPL Top 8 Cup and the DSTV Super Cup also on their plates.
Nsimbe’s ambition will be to get to the group stages of the CAF Champions League, hoping to mirror the spirit of the 1994 team that went all the way to the final of the CAF Cup Winners Cup losing to DR Congo’s DC Motema Pembe.
Compared to previous years, Tusker has a seemingly easier route to the money-bracket of continental football as they only need to win two sets of matches which will be played on home and away basis.
They start their campaign on February 11 against Mauritius champions AS Port Louis 2000 and if they successfully go through the two-legged tie, they will book a date with Sudanese champions Al Hilal in the first round.
“Most people think those teams are weak but they are not because they are the best in their country. I know it is going to be hard for us but getting to the group stages is my target. I have looked at the team in training and I am highly confident we can do it,” the 50-year old former Ugandan international noted.
He has twice come close while with Azam and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), both times being eliminated by Sudanese opponents El Mereikh.
But he hopes it will be third time lucky for him and has vowed to give his best to ensure he makes history in Kenya by taking a team to the group stages of continental football.
His sentiments were shared by his new assistant coach Francis Baraza who has backed the team to excel this season.
“We have the ability, hunger and drive. It is something we can achieve and the players are motivated enough. It is not going to be easy but we have to work hard to achieve that,” the former Chemelil Sugar head coach said.