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Furious Matano demands AFC improvement

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AFC Leopards head coach watches as his players warm up before their CAF Confederation Cup tie against Fosa Juniors of Madagascar at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on February 11, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12- AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano went ballistic after his charges produced a shockingly underwhelming performance against Malagasy side Fosa Juniors in their 1-1 CAF Confederations Cup preliminary round draw on Sunday.

Matano, not one known to shy away from expressing his feelings and disappointments has now demanded improvement from his players, giving an indirect warning that those not ready to pull their socks will watch proceedings from the terraces.

“The players didn’t measure up to expectation. We have been here for four days and the players only have themselves to blame. They didn’t play according to plan and the way I expected them to play,” Matano said after the match.

He stretched in his disappointment into the dressing room after the final whistle, clearly stating to the players they let themselves down especially on an evening they played in their ‘traditional home-ground’.

Matano was forced to make changes five minutes to the break pulling out Aziz Okaka and Henry Uche who were appalling in their performance and Matano was irate that their under-performance caused him to change his plans.

AFC Leopards players walk into the pitch for their CAF Confederation Cup tie against Fosa Juniors of Madagascar at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on February 11, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“We were sloppy from the start and we conceded a very easy goal because of a defensive lapse. Our defence was scattered, our midfield was not there, our striking was poor with no organization, no urgency and no constructive moves,” Matano further fumed.

“The players just didn’t measure up and without those changes I don’t think we would have matched that team,” he noted.

He has now vowed to make a raft of changes for the return leg in Mahajanga on February 21 as he seeks to ensure his side progresses to the next round despite conceding a potentially dangerous away goal.

Either a high scoring draw or outright win will see Leopards progress to the next round.

“We are going to win, you just take my word,” Matano, with a rare smile on a frustrating evening signed off.

If they successfully edge out a good result in Madagascar, AFC will face the winner between Ngazi Sport of the Comoros and AS Port Louis of Mauritius in the first round next month.

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