Football Football

The battle is not lost, says Tusker’s Nsimbe

Tusker FC head coach Gorge ‘Best’ Nsibe during training.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14- Ugandan George ‘best’ Nsimbe did not have the best of starts in his new role as Tusker FC head coach when his side was held to a 1-1 draw by Mauritian side AS Port Louis in the CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg, but he believes they will redeem their image on Sunday when they play the return leg away in Mauritius.

Nsimbe conceded that his charges did not play as per his expectations but reckons they will rectify the small mistakes for the return leg.

“It is not over until it’s over. There is still some 90 minutes to play in this match. We drew 1-1, but I don’t think that is the end. We can still go there and perform. We are going to attack to see that we score as early as possible. We have nothing to lose now and we need to give our all,” Nsimbe said, ahead of the tricky return leg.

Looking back at the performance on Saturday which fell way below the expected level, Nsimbe has blamed this on lack of proper match fitness.

Tusker never played any international friendly matches with their biggest match of pre-season being against Ulinzi Stars who are representing the country in the CAF Confederations Cup.

“To be honest, the boys didn’t perform as expected. The passing was not all that good especially when we reached their final third and we didn’t create as many chances. Maybe lack of match fitness played a role because we have not had any international friendly matches,” the former Azam FC assistant coach said.

Tusker still harbor hopes of making it into the group stages and in Port Louis on Sunday, they need any kind of win to progress to the first round where they are scheduled to play against Sudan’s Al Hilal Omdurman.

But the Southern Africans are not planning to let their feet off the speed peddles heading into the return leg especially after scoring a crucial away goal.

Head coach Sakoor Boodhun has promised Tusker a tougher test when they play in Port Louis says his side’s self-belief rose after the result last Saturday.

“We are a small nation if you compare us to Kenya and we did not come here to win. When we got the goal, we believed that we could actually get something. We didn’t know anything about Tusker before this but now, we will plan accordingly because we know what they can do,” Boodhun said.

“I am promising that we will do much better in the return leg. We see it as a possibility to go into the second round. We only need to be careful of their tall players because they posed a lot of dangers for us. My players know that they have the ability to make it,” he added.

The six-time Mauritian league champions have played in the Champions League only four times before and their best performance was in 2003 when they reached the second round.