NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29- A red faced Robert Matano was left fuming at his players’ pre-match conduct after their 1-0 loss to arch rivals Gor Mahia in the Kenyan Premier League Super Cup at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium on Sunday.
Two days to the match, a section of players boycotted training over unpaid allowances disrupting the club’s build up to the tie and a furious Matano has now warned them of dire consequences if they repeat the same mistake.
“We were not concentrated for this match and it cost us because football is mental. If you are not prepared mentally you start low pace. We only trained for one day as a team and that is not enough. We have to be focused and not distracted by small obstacles,” a furious Matano said.
He further added; “I know our players did a mistake and they have to realize that. I blame them; they should take responsibility of this game and I warn they should not repeat that mistake any day. They are professional players and should focus on playing not only looking at their money.”
Ingwe has been grappling with the exit of sponsors SportPesa who however seem not to have pulled both feet out of the club.
According to chair Dan Mule, the club is yet to receive a penny from the betting company this year.
However during the derby on Sunday the club donned a new kit brand not used last season, but surprisingly still had the sponsor’s logo.
Gor Mahia as well donned branded kits for the game. Word has it that the sponsors might just return to the two clubs.
Meanwhile, Matano has challenged the players to focus their energies on their work on the pitch and leave administrative matters to the management as he looks to turn the side that barely fought to survive last season into a title winning outfit.
“I am a winner and I want to win trophies,” Matano roared as he talked of his focus for the new season.
Despite the loss to Gor Mahia, Matano looked at the positives especially with the new players blended in and he believes he has confidence that his new look outfit will deliver in the new season, prime of their targets being the CAF Confederations Cup group stages.
“I am very happy with them so far and I think they have done a good job. Soon enough they will gel together and we will have a very strong team. We lost 1-0 to Gor but if you compare, they have had their team together for long while we had only four players from last year’s starting 11,” the coach argued.
He adds; “There is a lot of potential and the future is bright for us.”
AFC Leopards begin their domestic campaign with an away assignment against Posta Rangers at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos next Sunday, six days before they host Madagascar’s Fosa Juniors in the Confederations Cup, tentatively in Kakamega.
Matano says he feels his team is ready for the new season and will use the remaining week before the new season to polish the rough edges, including team cohesion and forward play which he says were some of the grey areas from Sunday.