NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – AFC Leopards head coach Antony Kimani expects a tough duel when he leads out his boys to face Tusker FC in Nakuru on Sunday, but he believes going by their recent form, they have what it takes to down the brewers, a side they have beaten only thrice in the last 23 meetings.
AFC have picked up good form, winning four of their last five games to move to within striking range of the top five.
“I think we are in a very good moment and run of form and that has brought a lot of confidence and self belief in the team and everyone now knows that we are a good side and capable of raking in good results,” Kimani stated.
He added; “But we know we are facing an equally good team with quality all over the pitch. They have one of the best strikers now in Timothy (Otieno) and it is an area of the pitch that we really have to be keen on.”
AFC have often struggled against the brewers, though over the last five meetings they have come close to breaking that curse. They played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg while last season, AFC won the first leg while Tusker won the second.
Overall, Tusker has won 14 of their 23 fixtures since 2009, drawing six and losing the remaining three.
On their form this season, Tusker are third in the standings and have not lost in their last five games, winning three and drawing two. Overall, they have won 11 of their 18 games and have the league’s joint second-best attack line having scored 35 goals.
This is the factor that Kimani and his side say they will be very cautious about and the tactician believes they have prepared adequately for it.
Meanwhile, Kimani has heaped praise on new signing Elvis Rupia who marked his debut with a goal in their 1-0 victory over Ulinzi Stars last weekend. In the absence of John Mark Makwatta who left to join Zesco United, Kimani believes Rupia can fill the void.
“He has settled in very quickly and has already shown us he is up to the task after scoring on his debut last weekend. If you look at him, he has almost similar attributes to Makwatta and I strongly believe he will be a very important part of our squad for the rest of the season,” Kimani noted.
Meanwhile, the tactician has admitted it has not been easy putting the squad together especially after the mid-season shambles that saw almost half the squad leave, including former coach Andre Cassa Mbungo.
“It was really tough but we had to show belief in the players that we have remaining and they have so far proved that they are up to the task if you look at our performances. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise for them,” Kimani noted.