NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – Bandari FC head coach Bernard Mwalala believes taking maximum results at home will be key if they are to attain a target of getting to the second round of the CAF Confederations Cup.
The dockers host Tunisia’s US Ben Guerdane in the first leg of the first round on Saturday afternoon at the Kasarani Stadium and Mwalala has urged his boys to take maximum home stage advantage.
“One thing with these knockout fixtures is that if you get a good result at home, the next game away is usually easier. That is our basic plan to ensure we get a win at home and keep a clean sheet. If we can do that, then getting a result away from home, even a draw will be enough for us,” the youthful tactician said.
Bandari are making only their second appearance in continental football and have already surpassed their performance from their debut season in 2016 where they couldn’t go past the preliminary round.
And Mwalala now hopes they can do even better and achieve something that he couldn’t as a player, twice with Yanga and the same number of times with Uganda’s SC Villa.
“I always tell them that playing in continental football opens up a lot of doors for them. I give them an example of myself. If we had ever made it to the quarter finals in those years, our lives would have changed,” Mwalala explains.
“It is the same for them. If they can get to the group stages, they will expose themselves to the whole of the world and who knows what might happen. This is what motivates us,” further added the tactician.
Looking on to the Guerdane challenge, Mwalala expects a very tough game both home and away.
“I have done some bit of research on them and they are a very good team. Technically and tactically, they are very organized and have players who can keep the ball on the ground. The strategy is to shut their spaces and ensure they don’t have time on the ball. If they do, they will kill us,”
“Also, we have to take our chances. We have had a problem where we create so many chances but don’t convert. This time, we have worked on that and hopefully it shows in the match,” further said Mwalala.
Two of his strikers, Abdallah Hassan and Yema Mwama were facing the danger of missing the game due to injury but having returned to training, he will assess between the two who is fitter to start.
“Missing the two would have been catastrophic. They started training last Tuesday and I will look at both and whoever is fitter will start and maybe the other one comes on later. Missing two of your best strikers in such a game is tough,” the coach added.
Bandari say they have picked lessons from their preliminary round game against Sudan’s Al Ahly Shandy and between then and now, the coach says his side has greatly improved.