NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano hopes the one week his team will be in high altitude training in Kericho will put them in the best frame as they seek to defend their FKF Premier League title, and rank as the second most successful football club in Kenya.
The brewers arrived in Kericho Monday night and held their first session Tuesday, and are set to be in the Rift Valley town for six more days.
“The spirit of the players is really great. This is the first time we have come together as a team to train and it makes even planning for the upcoming season easier,” Matano said.
He added; “This camping builds cohesion, togetherness and focus. Everyone understands why they are in this team and the demands that come with playing for Tusker. It is important and we thank our management for giving us such a chance because everyone concentrates and puts their efforts together.”
Matano also hopes the week in training will help the new players gel in, having recruited seven new faces into the team.
Among the players who have joined include forward Eric Mmata who has signed from Kariobangi Sharks, having had 21 direct goal contributions last season and he hopes he will bring that quality to the brewers.
Matano is also trying to find a new balance in defense with the exit of Christopher Oruchum who was pivotal in their run up to the title last season.
Oruchum was part of 19 clean sheets for the brewers and he has since left for Tanzania, where he has joined Namungo FC.
“The new players are gelling in well and they are not entirely new. They have played with the other players in the team but they are new to the Tusker culture and this time will be important for them to gel in,” coach Matano added.
Only three players; Jimmy Mbugua, Teddy Osok and Vincent Ngesa have been left behind as they are still nursing long-term injuries and are yet to be cleared for on-field action.
Tusker are set to play four friendly matches. On Thursday they will play two, against a local team from Nyamira before playing Wazito FC, which has since changed ownership and moved to Muhoroni.
On Saturday, they will play National Super League side Gusii United in Kisii and then face off with another second tier side, Mara Sugar on Sunday before returning to Nairobi Monday.
The start of the new season still looks uncertain despite the Transition Committee having stated it will start on September 24.
With a new Cabinet Secretary expected to come in with the new government, there is anticipation that the disbanded Football Kenya Federation will be back in office and this means the end of the Transition team’s tenure.
The team however had their tenure extended by two months by outgoing CS Amina Mohamed, the term expected to end next month.