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Matano feels K'Ogalo have advantage in league battle

Last updated 1 month ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi

Gor Mahia FC players during a training session at the Two Rivers grounds in Nairobi on October 12, 2020. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

With the draft fixtures for the 2020/21 FKF Premier League season out, Tusker coach Robert Matano has urged the Ministry of Sports to allow full resumption of football activities.

As per the fixtures released on Wednesday by the Football Kenya Federation, the league is expected to kick off on November 20 and end on July 21, 2021 subject to permission by the ministries of Sports and Health.

Save for record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia, who were given green light by the Ministry of Sports to start training ahead of their yet to be confirmed continental assignments, most Premier League clubs have been training in secrecy and fear.

The top tier clubs have been out of action since the sporting industry was shut in March after the first case of coronavirus infection was reported in the country.

Last month, football and other contact disciplines were dealt a major blow when Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed announced that all contact sports remain suspended until further notice. FKF were planning to start their new season this month with the promotion play-offs between Kisumu AllStars and Vihiga United (October 7 and 11) penciled to welcome football action back in the country.

However, the fixtures were indefinitely postponed after the government extended suspension on contact sports.

But last Friday’s international match between Harambee Stars and Zambia’s Chipolopolo at Nyayo National Stadium followed by the announcement of the league’s fixtures, appears to have given a ray of hope to the domestic football-starved fans.

And having witnessed Tusker suffer a humiliating 5-2 defeat to Gor Mahia in their opening match last season, Matano has called on the government to give all teams fair treatment in terms of preparation ahead of their rematch against K'Ogalo on November 21.

“We can’t wait for the new season to start. This is something we’ve been waiting for since the league was abandoned in March. We’ve to use what we have now to prepare to play the Premier League,” Matano told Standard Sports.

Tusker FC Coach Robert Matano. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

“But they should now allow teams to start training fully. There is no sense for us to continue training under restrictions yet the fixtures are out. How are we going to prepare for the new season? If Gor Mahia were given permission to train, what about the rest?”

He added: “Yes, Gor Mahia are going for continental assignments and they have an advantage in terms of fitness and so forth. But for those of us who are not going anywhere, we are still waiting to be given the green light to train. So, when are we going to be ready to compete?

“We’ve not played football since March, how are you going to get coordination and know if your team is ready to compete?" he posed.

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