NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 07 – Portuguese tactician Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto will have his first Mashemeji Derby experience on Sunday when he leads Gor Mahia out against arch-rivals AFC Leopards at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
The tactician is excited at the prospect of his first derby in Kenya and though history favours Gor in this fixture with 10 wins in the last 11 encounters, the coach has asked his players not to rely on past experiences but expect a different challenge when they get to the pitch on Sunday.
“This game will be a new history and anything can happen. These are two good teams, two big clubs and what I expect is that it will be a new piece of history with two new coaches who have never played against each other,” the coach states.
On his expectation ahead of the derby, the tactician is keen to ask the players not to let the pressure of the game get to them, saying they should instead focus on their game plan and what they need to do well to win the game.
“I am really excited because the derby is always a special game. I know what it means to the fans and what they feel for this type of game. Sometimes the players feel the same way but we try to make them calm and we are trying to push our thoughts to how we play the game. This is a special game to everyone and of course we expect one good result for the fans,” the tactician stated.
He admits he hasn’t watched much of AFC Leopards games, but reckons the few matches he has seen both on the pitch and in videos is enough to give him a clue on how to approach their eternal rivals.
“I have an idea about AFC Leopards and how they play but I always don’t put my focus so much on the opponent. We need to know the opponent but I think about our work every day. We look at our team 90pc because that is what is important and 10pc about the opponent,” said the coach.
He is pleased that he has had enough time to work with the team ahead of the derby having had a week in between their last game against Bandari and the derby.
Since coming in slightly less than a month ago, Pinto has worked on a tight schedule with matchdays coming in fast and thick, every three or four days.