Matano laments sorry travel plan after Sofapaka loss
AFC Leopards Head Coach Robert Matano threw the challenge to the top leadership to enhance the club’s travel schedules in the wake of their 2-0 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) loss to Sofapaka FC on Sunday.
Financial challenges forced the Leopards to make the away trip to Narok on matchday where they took to the pitch just hours after arrival. Consumed in fatigue, Leopards hardly put up a fight to stop Sofapaka.
Their weariness and lack of alertness was quickly exposed as they conceded their first goal inside two minutes before another went in the 19th and only recollected enough to keep the scoreline at that by full time.
“It (travelling on match day) affected so much indeed. The summary of our match today, simply put, is we played badly from the start. The players did not have time rest, take lunch and prepare for the match yet our opponents have been camping here for almost a week.
“I challenge the leadership to do their part while the technical bench and players do their best to register good results. Everyone knew we were to play here and something should have been done to avoid what we are witnessing,” Matano said.
The tactacian defended his players saying they were mentally fatigued, hence their poor display at Sofapaka.
Ali Feni, a player Ingwe had signed from Uganda in 2014 only to be locked out of their squad by International Transfer Certificate (ITC) delay on transfer D-day, took advantage of the unsettled opponents score the opener just seconds after the first whistle went off.
He completed his brace just over 15 minutes later as the Batoto ba Mungu completed the double over the 12-time KPL champions.
Matano did not spare his own players in his post-match interview, saying indiscipline was limiting their potential to achieve better results as a team.
“We have to be honest. Let everyone including our fans do the best to avoid such a shame. We cannot be shouting about player’s failure without pinpointing other areas which are key for a team’s success,” the former Ulinzi Stars and Sofapaka Coach said.
Champions in waiting
While the beleaguered Leopards continue their desperate search for form, Sofapaka are keen to secure second spot, with coach Sam Ssimbwa conceding Gor Mahia are champions in waiting.
“It is too late to say that we can catch up with Gor Mahia after this win. We are happy to bounce back to winning ways after a four-match winless streak but when you look at how they (Gor) are playing, it would be too ambitious for us to say we are still in the title race.
“We will however fight hard to win the remaining matches so that we finish at least second as we look forward for a better 2018 season,” the Ugandan conceded.
While Sofapaka remain far from catching up with Gor, Kakamega Homeboyz sunk Ulinzi Stars 1-0 on the same day to slash Gor’s lead back to eight points.
At the tail-end, Muhoroni Youth and Western Stima hold the tickets to the National Super League (NSL), the latter managing only a barren draw at Nzoia Sugar in the weekend action.
Muhoroni did not feature in the action, as well as holders Tusker who were scheduled to meet suspended Nakumatt FC and Zoo Kericho.
The two will know their fate on Tuesday when the court gives the verdict on the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) appeal against their suspension.
Meanwhile, Thika United moved further away from the relegation danger zone with a surprise win 1-0 over Kariobangi Sharks.
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