NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 7 – Mathare United head coach Francis Kimanzi wants his side to be more consistent this season and ensure they finish the campaign at a better position to put themselves in line for title contention.
The Slum Boys ensured a brilliant start to the last campaign but ended up letting their feet off the gas peddles finishing eighth with 48 points, a massive 27 off champions Gor Mahia.
“We have to try and see if we can improve on that. Having a good start is one thing but if you have an end that has good results as well, that’s brilliant. If you can do that then you can be competitive at the end of the season. We will try and see whether we can achieve that, have a good start and maintain it to end well,” the tactician told Capital Sports.
The Slum Boys have endured a title drought since their only league title in 2008 and will be looking to quench that thirst this season, though Kimanzi has not exactly put a finger to it.
They kick off their campaign at home on Saturday against Chemelil Sugar and the tactician has spelled out starting well will lay the marker for the entire campaign.
“There is always pressure to get the feeling of competing. The first match is always difficult because you have to get that tempo in. We have not had friendly matches good enough in a good environment and that will be a challenge,” Kimanzi noted.
There has been a short turn-around between the just concluded season and the new one, with the teams having less than eight weeks of both rest and pre-season.
Kimanzi has managed to sign two players, former captain Kevin Kimani returning to the fold after six years while youngster James Kinyanjui has joined from Thika United.
With the transfer window extending all the way to January, Kimanzi says he will continue strengthening the team and will use the first month of the new season to assess his team.
Meanwhile, he comes up against a Chemelil side that has transformed and coach Francis Baraza who returned to the side in June has built up the squad with a rock of young players.
“I have always believed in the young players because they will go into the pitch and give their all because they want to prove something. Sometimes the older players have nothing to fight for. I am happy with the squad that I have and they have gelled in together so well,” the tactician stated.
He hopes to start off his campaign on a high but concedes it will not be an easy game against Mathare.
“They are a very good team with a technical bench and I know it will not be easy. We have prepared well and I know the boys will be up to start with a bang. We are playing on a very good surface in Kasarani and there, we can give the best account of ourselves,” noted the tactician.
The sugar millers won the last meeting between the two sides in Awasi where they picked a 1-0 result on September 15. Overall in 20 meetings, Chemelil has beaten Mathare only four times, two at home and two away.
Mathare has won thrice, while 13 of the other meetings ended up in draws.
Kenyan Premier League weekend fixtures (Kick off 3pm unless stated):
Mathare United v Chemelil Sugar (Kasarani Stadium), Bandari v Gor Mahia (Mbaraki Complex), Kakamega Homeboyz v KCB (Bukhungu Stadium), Posta Rangers v Western Stima (Afraha Stadium)
Mount Kenya United v Sofapaka (2pm), AFC Leopards v Kariobangi Sharks (Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos, 4pm), Zoo Kericho v Nzoia Sugar(Kericho), Sony Sugar v Tusker FC (Awendo), Vihiga United v Ulinzi Stars (Mumias),