Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano says the two week international break has had a positive impact on the team preparing to face Egypt’s Zamalek in their CAF Champions League round of 32 first leg clash Saturday at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi.
The two week break was characterized by no league fixtures as clubs released players for international matches.
‘’In terms of match fitness, it was not so good but in terms of injuries recovery it did help us because we had many injuries but nearly everyone is there, in terms of match fitness we have played two friendly matches and I think they did well during that recovery period, and we have met today all of us including those from Harambee Stars only Emery Mvuyekure [Rwanda} still out and is expected to link up with us ‘’’,Matano remarked.
Some of the injured players who have returned include: Ibrahim Joshua, captain Eugene Asike, Charles Momanyi, Teddy Osok, Deogratious Ojok, Hillary Wandera, and Clyde Senaji.
Tusker Fc beat Kenya Police 7-2 in its second friendly on October 9th,played two days after overcoming National Super League side Kibera Black Stars 3-0.
‘’We are building up great momentum to the match, everyone is willing to perform and I think we will perform well’’, Matano quipped adding “this is a big stage and everyone must raise his game, it’s individual now and the team later, so if you are not ready for the match the team won’t be ready’’, Matano said.
Midfielder Humphrey Mieno reckoned the team realized the task ahead and remained focused to the daunting task.
‘’As a team it’s usually about the coach and how we respond to his ways and how he plans the team for the match, and secondly its individually how you prepare and focus and get yourself into the right frame of the game’’, The winger said.
Tusker FC qualified for the round of 32 after eliminating Djibouti’s Arta Solar 7 on a 4-1 aggregate score while Zamalek, last season’s runner up received a bye to the round.
Zamalek who won the CAF Champions League title for the fifth and the last time in 2002, arrived in the country on Tuesday.
The first leg is scheduled to kick off at 4PM east African time on Saturday at Nyayo national stadium with the return match set for 22 October at Alexandria’s Borg Al-Arab stadium.