Tusker dressed down on social media for limp CL exit

AS Port Louis 2000 players celebrate Ephrem Guikan's goal against Tusker FC during their preliminary round ...
AS Port Louis 2000 players celebrate Ephrem Guikan's goal against Tusker FC during their preliminary round of the 2017 CAF Champions League first leg clash at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on February 11, 2017. The match ended 1-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

Kenyan Premier League (KPL) titleholders Tusker FC came under stinging criticism for their listless exit from the 2017 CAF Champions League at the hands of AS Port Louis on Sunday in Mauritius.

The domestic champions looked set to advance from the preliminary to the first round of the elite competition when Hashim Sempala gave them a 1-0 lead on the day and a 2-1 advantage on aggregate with a wonder strike from range in the 37th minute.

However, the ghosts of the second half collapse from the first leg where they were forced to a 1-1 stalemate in Nairobi came to haunt them through a familiar source when Ivorian Ephrem Guikan notched a late brace to secure a 2-1 victory for Port Louis.

Guikan, who turned the tie on its head to hand his team a 3-2 victory after the two legs, was the hero for the Mauritian giants after scoring all three of their goals in the tie.

Tusker, who are expected back to the country on Tuesday, were slammed on mainstream and social media after elevating the hopes of local football fans who followed the game on a Facebook live stream before a sensational late collapse sparked the bitter defeat.

“Our teams never learn from the past mistakes. Tusker is out because of poor preparations, how you play Palos FC and Vihiga United FC as your preparations for Champions League?

“Look at the quality of players they signed? Those were players to defend the league title and not play in the Champions League,” celebrated Royal Media Services’ owned, Bahari FM Sports Presenter, Mkalla wa Mwambodze lamented.

Palos and Vihiga played in the second-tier National Super League last season that saw Tusker sweep all before them to seal an 11th league title and clinch the GOtv Shield for a first ever domestic double.

Former Tusker team manager Willis Waliaula echoed the sentiments.

“The quality of football played in the Champions League is on a different level and if any of our local teams what to go far they need to sign quality players who have experience in the competition.

“They also need a good pre-season against teams that have continental experience, if that doesn’t change then we should expect same results every year,” he added.

-Receiving end-

The Brewers found themselves on the receiving end of slack on micro blogging site Twitter as well as Facebook as frustrated fans poured scorn on the shameful exit from Africa’s premier club competition they returned after three years out on the cold.

“Tusker FC are out of the CAF Champions League even before the 2017 KPL season kicks off. Sorcery,” John Aggrey posted on his Twitter handle ‏@Superjohna07.

“We might as well have a 30 team league if this is the quality of football that we display to the world, league to run for 2 years #TuskerFC,” Daniel Wahome, a radio presenter at national broadcaster, KBC, posted on his ‏@MistaWahome handle.

“We have a very weak PL and this again reflects on Harambee Stars performance .Tusker wasn’t keen to advance,” Kennedy Onyango (‏@jkoonyango) weighed in while tagging the club through their official handle, @TuskerFC_club.

“@TuskerFC_club  out of CAF Champs League and @TheOfficialKPL yet to kick off. Is Kenya not cut for football?” Robin Toskin (@ToskinRobin), a Sports Editor at Standard Group Limited posed.

On Saturday, another Kenyan outfit, Ulinzi Stars FC scrapped through to the first round of the second tier CAF Confederation Cup 5-4 on post-match penalties after being held to a 1-1 draw over two legs by Al Hilal from Libya.

Incidentally, the 2010 KPL champions Ulinzi got a chance to return to continental football for the first time since the 2011 CAF Champions League after losing to Tusker in the final of the Shield last season.

They will now face Egyptian opposition Smouha wary of the last time they faced a team from the land of the Pharaohs in 2011 when titans Zamalek blanked them 5-0 on aggregate in the preliminary round of the Champions League.

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