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Why Tusker can’t brew title just yet

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | November 25th 2018
Tusker fc Coach Robert Matano against Silver Strikers during their International friendly match at Ruaraka Stadium on Friday 23/11/18[Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Tactician happy with new signings as he plots path in glory.

Tusker coach Robert Matano has played down his side’s 2018/2019 SportPesa Premier League title favourites’ tag after the brewers beat visiting Malawian outfit Silver Strikers 2-0 in Friday’s friendly match at the Ruaraka Grounds.

Having turned around the fortunes of the 11-time league champions from a second-table team to a top three finish when he re-joined them in April and boosted by a spending spree in the on-going November transfer window, Matano has been primed to help Tusker reclaim the title.

Save for defender Hillary Wandera, who was sidelined with an ankle injury, Matano gave all the nine new signings some minutes in a friendly which former Player of the Year Michael Madoya scored a brace on his debut.

But even with early signs of good things at the Ruaraka-based outfit after infusing the club with a ‘will to win’ mentality, the experienced Matano, who won the title with Tusker in 2012, insists record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia are still the favourites.

“We cannot talk about the title right now because the league has not yet started. As far as I’m concerned, Gor Mahia are the champions and therefore are still the favourites.

“Apart from Gor Mahia, no team has won the league. We are far from it. All of us are just building up to and playing like any other team, but Gor Mahia are still the champions,” said Matano after the friendly.

“Last year’s performance is history and it’s gone. We are starting a fresh and only good planning will make us start the season well. What I need is to start well. We cannot talk much about what’s is going to happen but my hope is to start the league well and be consistent.”

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The former Sofapaka, Ulinzi Stars and AFC Leopards tactician admitted that the new signings are gelling as they continue with their preparation ahead of the opening match of the season away to Sony Sugar on December 9.

“I can see they are coming up well. If they get together, more days and months they will do much better,” he said.

“As a team, we are not doing badly; I think we are at 50 per cent right now. Yes, we are still in a preseason training, but we are slowly coming up well.”

Asked how important Madoya, who recently ditched his boyhood club Zoo Kericho, will be to the team after his debut exploits, Matano said: “Everybody is important to the team, not only Madoya. The role of a striker is to score goals, so he just did what he was supposed to do.”

The diminutive attacking midfielder was more than impressed with his debut performance from the bench.

“I thank God for scoring a brace on my debut for Tusker. I’ve started well at my new club and I look forward to build on this performance,” said Madoya.

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