NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – The recent upturn of results at AFC Leopards has been down to discipline and an attitude change among the players, head coach Robert Matano has revealed.
Matano who joined AFC in July from National Super League side Bidco United believes that they will finish within the top 10 positions even as he looks to close the season with a trophy, having qualified for the GOtv Shield semi-finals.
“Day by day every player is improving. They realize they have to play and perform and that’s why there is a bit of consistency. When I came in they were not training as a team; sometimes players were not even coming to training. But now we are more like a unit and the mentality and attitude has changed. It becomes easier to plan,” Matano has said.
Matano’s discipline axe has already been wielded on Ugandan forward Allan Katterega who crossed paths with the tactician referred to as ‘The Lion’ in Nakuru during their 1-0 loss to Bandari.
Katterega openly argued with the coach after he was substituted despite coming on in the second half and Matano said he would not work with him again.
Goalkeeper Ian Otieno is also reported to have fallen prey of Matano’s tough regime having missed a training session.
The tactician is confident that with renewed spirit, the team has the capability to fight to finish the season on a high.
“Of course we can’t win the league now but the plan is to play each of the remaining 13 matches well and see what comes out at the end of the season. We have to play to win and if we continue like this, we will achieve our target. We have to finish above top 10. AFC is a big team and we can’t afford to finish lower,” the tactician noted.
Ingwe put up perhaps their best performance on Sunday evening when they played to a 1-1 draw with arch rivals Gor Mahia, a result that Matano is confident will spur them on as they aim to finish the season on a high.
“For me, these are not two dropped points. Coming from two 3-0 losses to draw 1-1 is a good result. Of course Gor is on top at the moment and this is a very important point for us. If you compare us to Gor, they are better,” Matano offered.
After the international break, Ingwe will shift their hunt to fast rising Zoo Kericho in Nakuru.