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Matano not underrating Vihiga in Shield semis

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AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano during their match against Thika United on September 20 2017. Photo/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21- AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano has urged his charges to put in a performance worth their club’s stature on Sunday when they take on National Super League leaders Vihiga United in the semi-finals of the GOtv Shield in Nakuru.

However, the experienced tactician has warned his players not to take Vihiga lightly with the side having beaten defending champions Tusker FC 2-0 in the quarter finals and enjoying a good run of form in the second tier.

“We respect every team and we will handle Vihiga with the same seriousness we can handle a team from the KPL. We cannot afford to underrate anyone. They are in the semis because they are a good team,” Matano said.

“We are going there to win and get to the final; nothing else. We cannot talk much about the game, we will talk on the pitch on Sunday,” the confident tactician further added.

AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano gives instructions to his team at half time during their match against Thika United on September 20 2017. Photo/TIMOTHY OLOBULU

Matano came inches close to winning the GOtv Shield title last season while with Ulinzi Stars. He however, was unable to coach the team between September and November due to illness, but gathered strength to make it to the pitch during the final against Tusker where they lost 1-0.

“That is in the past and I cannot look back. Let us look at what is ahead of us now,” the tactician further said.

Ingwe are looking to add color to an otherwise underwhelming season that has seen them almost crumble to the level of fighting relegation with Matano, the club’s third coach this season just but managing to save the sinking ship.

Silverware in the GOtv Shield, a tournament they last won in 2013 would be a welcome gift to the AFC fraternity.

“Every coach wants to win trophies. I am a winner and it is not different with me. We will fight,” Matano added.

Charles Okwemba celebrates with teammates after scoring one of the two Vihiga United goals in a GOtv Shield Quarter final clash against defending champions Tusker FC on August 20, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

AFC’s 2-0 win over Thika United on Wednesday pushed them to 11th in the Kenyan Premier League standings, a sure boost of confidence as they prepare to take on Vihiga on Sunday. The win also pushed their bid for a top eight finish but Matano has asked for consistency.

“We are winning, playing well and that is good. We have to finish in the top eight and with nine games to go, we have to work harder. There are small things we need to work on but more so our consistency. We have to keep winning,” Matano added.

AFC Leopards are six points away from a top eight slot with nine games to go and the tactician has asked his players not to drop any more points along the road.

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