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Caf Champions League: 'Past Kenyan record in Egypt does not scare me' - Matano

11:05 BST 17/10/2021
Tusker coach Robert Matano.
The Brewers lost the first leg by a solitary goal but the tactician is confident of defying the odds and winning away to make Kenyan history

Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano is confident of breaking the North Africa jinx for Kenyan teams when they play Egyptian giants Zamalek on Friday.

The Brewers fell by a solitary goal in the first leg of their Caf Champions League first round fixture played on Saturday at Nyayo Stadium. 

Kenyan clubs usually struggle to get a positive outcome in the aforementioned area, however, that does not scare the tactician.

He has further challenged his players to step up and get out of the situation they created for themselves.

'Tusker have not lost the game'

"Yes, Kenyan teams have not had good outings in Egypt and North Africa, but it does not scare me. To me, even the away or home ties don't matter. What matters is your ability and capability to get results," Matano told Goal.

"We have not lost anything, the game is still ongoing. It is just the first leg that has ended.

"As usual, we are expecting unfriendly reception, but it will not deter us from getting a win there. 

"We will change [the loss], I have been in this situation many times. It is a matter of players believing in themselves and influence the game.

"They put themselves in the situation and they have to work hard and get out of it. We must come out of it and we will, it is possible and it is going to happen."

What happened on Saturday?

The tactician further explained his team lost against the Egyptians because they lacked confidence and sharpness.

"We lost because we did not play well, especially in the first half, I feel we lacked courage and confidence among ourselves. In this kind of level you must be ready as a player," Matano continued.

"Nobody wanted to gather courage and lead the team in facing the opponents. But in the second half, after we made some changes, we showed urgency and good football and threatened as well. But in the first half, we did not move, we did not even play two or three passes in succession."

'Lack of competitive matches also cost Tusker'

Prior to Saturday's game, the FKF Premier League champions had gone three weeks without playing a competitive match and Matano has explained how it negatively impacted his players.

"The team lacked match sharpness as well, they have not played competitive football for three weeks owing to the international break, and sometimes as a coach, rectifying mistakes without having competitive football is hard," he added.

"You cannot correct a mistake you have not seen. Playing smaller teams [in friendlies] does not help much because they cannot give you the resistance you need. They cannot contain the pressure.

"But playing a high level of football as we did on Saturday will provide an opportunity for you to see a mistake and get a solution to it. Like in Egypt, we are going to fight.

"Some of my players have also not played in that level; but we have seen [Zamalek], how they play and we will plan for them. But the most important thing is that we have to be composed and have that urgency and hunger to play."

No Kenyan team has ever made it to the group stage of the Caf Champions League.