The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Matano Promises to Make Changes

AFTER dramatic win over Nairobi City Stars that saw them retain their league title, triumphant Tusker coach Robert Matano has promised to beef up his squad in readiness for the CAF Champions League next year.

The coach, who has nick-named himself ' The Lion' is also keen on beginning another historic journey to win a third successive Kenya Premier League title.

"I will definitely bring in new faces to add punch to our team. We have to match other teams like Sofapaka or Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards who have very good experienced players," he stated.

The coach admitted that his team was short compared to his competitors and pointed out that the changes their opponents had made in the second half of the season almost forced them to relinquish their title.

"Gor brought in Dan Sserunkuma, Donald Mosoti, Joseph Njuguna and George Midenyo in the second leg to beef up their team which paid dividends.

AFC signed experienced players like Paul Were, Abbas Kiwalabye, Burundi's Floribert Ndayisaba and Tanzanian Idris Rajab in the second leg which boosted the team to another level," he pointed out.

By holding on to their domestic crown, the brewers might have proved they are still the top dogs in the country but they still have a lot to prove in the region and on the continent.

In July, they were ousted in the group stages of the Cecafa Club Championship that contributed to the sacking of coach Sammy Omollo and paved way for the entry of Matano.

Earlier they lost in the first leg of the CAF Champions League after falling to Rwandan giants APR. The brewers lost three key players in mid-season thus --Brian Mandela, Jerry Santos and Paul Were--a situation that nearly derailed their title defence bid.

Matano said: "We will have to make a few changes in the playing unit to bring in a few experienced new players for the next season and the CAF representation," he explained.

The 2009 Coach of the Year lauded his team's tactical discipline and champions' attitude that led to their title defence, saying he was confident the boys were capable of holding on to their title again.

"I am delighted with my players. They had tactical discipline throughout and they never gave up their fighting spirit. I took it easy when Gor overtook us. I knew at one stage, they will slip, owing to their fans pressure. When you play under pressure like Gor Mahia, you are bound to make small silly mistakes that can cost you dearly and it did," he said.

He admitted that his side deserved to win their Premier League title since they had maintained their consistency since he took over .

"I am a winner and I was so confident that this trophy was going nowhere. I came to win the title," he said after his teams victory over City Stars courtesy of goals from Maurice Odipo, Obadiah Ndege and Fred Ajwang.

The win and Gor's 1-1 home draw against Thika United ultimately worked in Tusker's favour. They finished the season with 60 points one ahead of second placed Gor (59) and three more than Leopards (57) who lost 1-0 to Chemelil Sugar. The brewers victory assured them of Sh3.5 million prize money as the KPL champions.

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