Matano keen to maintain focus on reigniting Leopards

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

AFC Leopards Head Coach Robert Matano has emphasised he will not be deterred by negative gossip surrounding the club in his bid to get the 12-time champions back to their roaring best.

Back in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) for the first time since ending his managerial stint at Ulinzi Stars, Matano got his tenure off to a positive start with a 1-0 win over Bandari FC on Saturday.

Marcellus Ingotsi struck at late winner at the Mbaraki Stadium in Mombasa as the Leopards ended a dispiriting winless run stretching nine games to move 11th on the KPL log.

“Leaders must understand a coach has a job to do and if there are no distractions I shall duly deliver. I came here for a reason and that reason is to work,” Matano told Citizen Digital.

The tactician affirmed he is best suited for the job citing his track record as a league title winner with Sofapaka FC in 2009 and Tusker FC  (2012).

“We’re not badly off at the moment and we’re only ten points below the leaders. There is nothing impossible and right now no one has been announced champion so we’ll push for the trophy to the last match,” the former City Stars tactician underscored.

The victory over Bandari made it two wins in as many matches for Matano who guided the Ingwe to seeing off Nairobi Stima 2-0 in the GOtv Shield Cup on his managerial debut.

Gameweek 16 saw Ulinzi and Posta Rangers leapfrog champions Tusker and Gor Mahia FC to go top of the KPL, with both joint on 29 points.

Gor have the chance to restore their lead when they tackle Muhoroni Youth FC for their game in hand after their involvement in a friendly match with English Premier League side Everton FC on Thursday.

Tusker were handed their second successive league defeat by Western Stima with three weekend clashes ending in barren stalemates.

Kariobangi Sharks versus Kakamega Homeboyz, Thika United versus Sofapaka FC and Mathare United versus Sony Sugar all ended in goalless draw with Zoo condemning Chemelil Sugar to a 2-0 defeat at the Kericho Green Stadium.

Kenya Under 20 international Nicholas Kipkirui and Ernest Kipkoech were on target as the former National Super League side moved 13th.

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Story By Geoffrey Mwamburi
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