Matano: I will get the job done against CS Sfaxien
Tusker coach Robert Matano is confident that he will break the jinx of not winning against teams from North African countries when they host CS Sfaxien of Tunisia in the Caf Confederation Cup playoffs on Sunday.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams. The match kicks-off at 3pm at Nyayo National Stadium.
Tusker dropped to the second-tier continental tournament after a 5-0 aggregate thrashing by Egyptian giants Zamalek SC in the first round.
On the other hand, CS Sfaxien beat Nigerian Premier League side Bayelsa 5-0 on aggregate to book a date with Tusker for a place in the group stage of the tournament.
Matano however remains confident that this time his team is well prepared and ready to upset their opponents, who are two-time Caf Confederation Cup champions.
“Against Zamalek, we had just signed new players and they had not gelled. That is why we lost the two matches. This time we have prepared well and we are ready for the tie. We have no injury worries, apart from Jimmy Mbugua is o the recovery path,” the 59-year-old coach said.
Despite his vast coaching experience, Matano has always found the going rough against teams from North Africa. He lost 2-0 to Ismaily in 2010 while in charge of Sofapaka in the Caf Champions League. He also lost 2-1 at home to Al Ahly in the same competition in 2013.
But Matano said the notion that he has a poor record against North African teams should not be used to judge him as he has been following CS Sfaxien closely even before they were paired against Tusker.
“I follow many teams from North Africa and the perception that I don’t know them because Tusker has not played against them before is baseless. Football is played on the pitch, I have my tactics I will use in the game and aim for a win. Those who have ruled us out will be in for a rude shock because we are also out to win the first leg,” he said.
CS Sfaxien arrived in the country on Thursday morning, and checked in at Serena Hotel. The team has since had two training sessions at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani Annex on Thursday and Friday evening.
On Saturday, both teams will have a feel of the Nyayo National Stadium with Tusker training in the morning while the Tunisians in the afternoon.
CS Sfaxien, under the tutelage of Italian coach Giovanni Solinas, won the Caf Confederation Cup twice (2007 and 2008) and lost in the 2010 finals FUS de Rabat of Morocco on 3-2 aggregate.
Meanwhile, Tusker Chairman Dan Aduda has confirmed that the club will issue match tickets to their fans to watch the game at no cost.
The winner of the two-leg tie will progress to the group stage of the competition which comes with a Sh27 million grant from the Confederation of African football.