Matano banking on discipline for Leopards revival

AFC Leopards Head Coach Robert Matano. (PHOTO/File/Courtesy)
(FILE)AFC Leopards Head Coach Robert Matano. (PHOTO/File/Courtesy)

Robert Matano is keen to get the best of out of his charges by getting them to stay a disciplined lot during his tenure as AFC Leopards Head Coach.

The Leopards face Bandari FC on Sunday in what will be Matano’s fourth Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match in charge and will be counting on discipline to ‘pay off’.

Reports indicate a section of ‘rogue’ Leopards players are finding it hard to cope under Matano, a strict disciplinarian.

Two players were barred from attending training after showing up late for their session.

“AFC Leopards is a big club, respected locally and across Africa. Our players must understand that they are playing for a big team and have the right attitude to make difference.

“I believe a player is at work during our training and has to show it. No matter how talented a player is, without discipline and the right focus they cannot achieve much. So far the response is encouraging but we can do better,” charged The Lion, ahead of Bandari’s return match.

In Mbaraki, a Marcellus Ingotsi last gasp strike ensured a bright start for Matano at the den, and is confident of winning in Afraha on the return match.

“Against Western Stima in Kisumu (Wednesday), we missed Keziron Kizito and Robinson Kamura who are injured, and there absence was clearly felt. We however have to adjust with the available players.

“We are now at position 13 with 20 points, a good sign that we are progressing well. That confident display against Stima should be seen against Bandari. We must also avoid conceding early goals,” Matano told.

-No looking back-

While Leopards are struggling to catch up with the ‘top teams of their cadre’ on the KPL table, their eternal rivals Gor Mahia are ruling at the top ahead of their Muhoroni clash in Kisumu on Saturday.

Head coach Dylan Kerr has already forgotten the two successive wins he has registered against Nakumatt FC, telling his players there is no looking back in their title quest.

However, reigning KPL Most Valuable Player Kenneth Muguna spoilt his mood for missing training sessions proper communication before midweek’s win over Nakumatt.

“I should have been informed properly. He is a professional player, featuring for a professional club and an important player for that matter.

“I was told he had a swollen knee but I didn’t see him personally. Going forward that should not happen,” Kerr fumed.

Gor, who lead Posta Rangers with only a point (34), could relinquish the lead to Sammy Omollo coached mailmen who visit Nzoia United at the Sudi Stadium in Bungoma on Sunday.

Thus, news that former Gor coach Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Fereirra targeting three first team players from his successor are ill timed.

According to Albania’s Panaroma Sports, the Brazilian coach wants to rope in forward Jacques Tuyisenge, Muguna and utility Ugandan international Godfrey Walusimbi to his FK Tirana side.

With scouts rumored to be in Kenya to watch the three, Kerr must inspire his charges to ignore any mental interference as they face a side fighting to jump out of relegation zone.

Muhoroni lost 3-1 to Sofapaka on Wednesday, to swap places at the bottom with Mathare United who won at home against Kakamega Homeboyz.

-Nsimbe fears Stima-

Tusker FC will be hosting Stima at the Meru Kinoru Stadium, with head coach George ‘Best’ Nsimbe acknowledging his fear for the power men.

“Western Stima is a very good team. There performance against AFC Leopards in the recent two matches tells it all. We are however rectifying some few mistakes that have cost us points unnecessarily.

“Our aim is to defend the title and knowing we are already in the second round matches we have to be more cautious,” Nsimbe offered.

Tusker are currently fourth with 29 points, same as Ulinzi Stars who have a better goal difference.

In other round 19 fixtures, Homebyz will be up against inform Kariobangi Sharks, Ulinzi host Nakumatt, while Thika United play away to Sofapaka.

Chemelil Sugar will battle it out against Zoo Kericho, while Sony Sugar face Mathare at home in Awendo.

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