Ulinzi will feel Makwatta exit strain – Coach Nyangweso

Ulinzi Stars FC striker John Makwatta displays his Golden boot award during Kenyan Premier League ...
Ulinzi Stars FC striker John Makwatta displays his Golden boot award during Kenyan Premier League awards ceremony in Nairobi on December 13, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

Ulinzi Stars Head Coach Benjamin Nyangweso admitted the club will feel the strain of Mark Makwatta’s exit as he named his squad for the CAF Confederations Cup first round tie against Egypt’s Smouha SC on Tuesday.

Makwatta who was influential as Ulinzi overcame Libyan side Al Hilal Benghazi in the preliminary round did not feature in the 18-man list named just hours before the team departs for Egypt amid reports he has joined Slovakian second-tier club FC Nitra.

The talisman who was the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) golden boot winner last season attracted praise for his display for the All Stars against Hull City select XI during their exhibition match at the KCOM Stadium, UK with Nyangweso branding him ‘the best in the league’.

The tactician backed the squad’s fringe players to step up and fill into his shoes as they begin life without the player who has been the club’s top scorer over the past two seasons when they tackle Smouha on Friday.

“When a big player like Makwatta leaves any club, the impact has to be felt. He was the best striker in the KPL last season and has been one of our best. There is enough depth in the squad we have players who will replace him in the position and we hope they will perform well as he did for the team,” Nyangweso told Citizen Digital.

He added they have been conducting a video analysis of their opponents and will be keen to get a favourable first leg result to avoid pressure on the return.

“We are well prepared for the game we are aware that teams from the northern part of Africa are tactically gifted and are very dangerous on the counter attack we must be careful on how we attack and defend,” he stated.

He has kept faith in the squad that did duty in the preliminary round conquest over Libyan side Al Hilal, making little change.

“A win will be the best result for us but if push comes to shove we have to get a draw and at least score some away goals to ease the pressure when they come for the second leg,” he underscored.

The club stated Makwatta’s absence for the first round tie was because his passport is in the Slovak embassy for visa processing.

Travelling Squad:

Goalkeepers: James Saruni, Jacktone Odhiambo

Defenders: Brian Birgen, Omar Mbongi, Geoffrey Kokoyo, Mohammed Hassan, Ben Sande, Sylus Shitote

Midfielders: Boniface Onyango, Samuel Onyango, John Kago, Daniel Waweru, Stephen Ochollah, Churchill Muloma, Justine Onwong’a

Strikers: Oscar Wamalwa, Baron Oketch, Enosh Ochieng

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Story By John Kyanda
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