21 February 2013

Kenya: Olaba Upbeat

AFC Leopards coach Tom Olaba has played down the recent losses the club endured in the pre-season, saying it will not affect their performance much when the Kenya Premier League kicks off this Sunday.

"Results do not matter much during pre-season because you are trying to gauge how the team can work together as well as introducing new tactics to the team. We are not worried about the results," said Olaba.

Leopards lost two back to back friendlies against reigning Kenyan Premier League champions, Tusker and KRA but it was the 2-0 defeat to the tax men from the Nationwide League that set alarm bells ringing.

Olaba said his team is in good shape and exuded confidence that his side will register positive results in their opening league match against Chemelil on Sunday at the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani.

Olaba, who joined the club early this year after taking over from Jan Koops, also said there are major injuries though there were still doubts over whether the duo of Charles Okwemba and Victor Ochieng will feature for them. Postal Corporations Kenya, who are the employers of the two players, have insisted that they must play for the company's Nationwide team, Posta Rangers.

"We have no injuries except the usual small knocks. The boys are responding well to training and obviously, we are looking forward for a great match on Sunday. About Okwemba and Victor, the issue is being dealt with by the clubs management and I can't comment about it but they are still training with us," said Olaba.

The coach added that they will be seeking to improve on their third place finish, reiterating that a strong start and an even stronger finish to the season will put them in good stead in their battle to end a 15-year championship drought.

"We are here to compete and not to participate. Our target is to win the league title which eluded us narrowly last season. But my major concern is to see that we perform well and give our supporters and sponsors something to feel proud off," Observed Olaba.

He noted with pride that he has identified his starting line-up adding that he was happy with the way the new signings have bonded with regular players.

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