Batambuze blames fatigue for Tusker FC’s mini-crisis

Tusker FC Ugandan coach George
Tusker FC Ugandan coach George "Best" Nsimbe instructs Shafik Batambuze during their preliminary round of the 2017 Caf champions League match against AS Port Louis at Safaricom stadium Kasarani on February 11, 2017. The match ended 1-1. Photo/Maina Wambugu/

Tusker FC defender Shafik Batambuze blamed fatigue for their stuttering start to the 2017 season as the Ugandan received his 2016 November Player of the Month on Wednesday.

Tusker, the 2016 ‘double-double’ winners have already lost two trophies this season, having lost the Super Cup to record Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia and getting knocked off the CAF Champions League at the preliminary round.

Their woes have transcended into the league, where they have now lost both of their opening two fixtures. The Brewers were summarily beaten by Nzoia United in their first league match of the season, losing 5-2 before slumping to a second defeat a week later in the hands Thika United.

Under new Head Coach and Batambuze’s compatriot George Nsimbe, the team has lost all five of their last fixtures and remain winless this year.

“The players have not rested well. After winning two trophies we still had the CAF Champions League in our hands as well as several friendly matches. This definitely prevented us from getting enough rest,” Batambuze told Citizen Digital.

However, the Ugandan who has been included to the Uganda Cranes squad that will face the national team Harambee Stars in Thursday’s friendly is adamant the drop in form is only a phase they will ultimately shake off.

“It has affected us a lot and although it isn’t going to be easy for us to get back to our feet again  can assure you that we are going to come back, Soon we will start performing well.

“We are just going to work hard because Kenya is not an easy team. None of those encounters have been easy because the competition levels have gone higher,” he underscored.

Batambuze was recognized as the KPL’s finest player for November in Nairobi at the event where organisers Sports Journalist Association of Kenya (SJAK) announced an improved package for the new campaign.

This year, the winner will receive a 49-inch LG Smart Television screen, Ksh100,000 and a trophy with the recipient’s name engraved on it.

Meanwhile, SJAK Chairman Chris Mbaisi has urged the league administration and the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to consider merging Kenya’s top-tier calendar with that of world governing body FIFA.

“It’s obvious that we have had lots challenges with the running of the league. We need to think about the scheduling of our league so that things can be run properly .You can imagine the time wastage from November last year until only two weeks ago,” Mbaisi lamented .

He warned both parties to put an end to their constant supremacy battles for the sake of the players, for the image of Kenyan football.

“The KPL and FKF need to work in harmony in esnuring the league is running normally because most of these players depend on the league for their livelihoods. Clubs have been investing in training and paying of their players. As Kenyans we need to align ourselves with the rest of the world,” he said.

-Report by Mwangi Githinji.

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