NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – The last time Egyptian giants Zamalek SC were in Nairobi, they suffered a 4-2 defeat at the hands of then champions Gor Mahia in a CAF Confederation Cup group stage match in 2019, and now champions, Tusker FC, will look to replicate the same result.
The two sides lock horns on Saturday in the second preliminary round of the CAF Champions League, with a group stage berth up for grabs.
Tusker progressed to the second round after a 4-1 aggregate victory over Djiboutien side Arta Solar 7, drawing 1-1 away from home and thumping the star-studded side 3-0 in Nairobi.
Head coach Robert Matano says the team is preparing well for the game and remains optimistic they can take full advantage at home to battle for a first ever qualification to the group phase of the competition.
“We are building up the momentum well and are looking to work even more as the days progress. The spirit is there and everyone is willing to perform and work hard. We are looking forward to a good performance on Saturday,” said the tactician.
The international break has been beneficial to the brewers as they have had time to rest and recover as well as get their minds back together after suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of AFC Leopards in their first game of their Premier League title defense.
“In terms of matches fitness, we have lost a bit but tried to regain that with two friendly matches which we won. But it has also been positive because we have had time to rest and recover especially with the players who were injured. Now we are getting into the final week of training and joined by players who were out on international duty. We look forward to working even better together,” said the coach.
Midfielder Humphrey Mieno also remains optimistic that the team will start positively.
“The morale is pretty high and the lads are working as a team. We know the task ahead of us and we need to focus on getting maximum points at home. We have had two weeks without a match and this has been very important to get time to concentrate on the game as well as getting the injured players back,” Mieno said.
Among the players who have returned to full training include defender Charles Momanyi and striker Joshua Ibrahim who both missed the AFC Leopards game with injury.