The pep talk from coach Robert Matano is all what Tusker players needed to break their almost four-year win-less jinx against Mathare United, winger Luke Namanda has revealed.
Namanda was the difference as his second half goal at the Kasarani Annex inspired Tusker to end their long search for a league win over the 2008 league champions. Prior to the match Tusker had last beaten Mathare in September 2017.
The hard fought win saw Tusker scale up to the top of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League with 23 points, one ahead of KCB who have a game in hand. Both teams squandered first half penalties with Tusker’s Henry Meja being denied by the woodwork while Mathare’s Daniel Otieno skied his kick.
Namanda revealed that Matano’s words of encouragement before kick off injected the much needed desire to floor the struggling Mathare who are second from bottom with four points.
“We were under pressure to deliver this win to our fans after years of searching . The coach told us we are capable of breaking the long win-less jinx against them should we give our best. The goal is a massive motivation for me to add more in the subsequent matches,” revealed the former Nzoia Sugar midfielder.
Matano, who has now guided his charges to four straight wins in the last five matches, has in the meantime warned his charges against complacency owing to their ‘top of the table’ status.
Matano who could not contain his joy following the win was quick to downplay the ‘title candidate’ tag against their name. He instead called on his troops to focus on reaping positive results in their subsequent matches. “It was a tough match considering Mathare are looking to get a winning rhythm. We wasted clear-cut chances but the most important thing is that we have three points in the bag. I am not under pressure to consolidate our stay at the top even though we have to keep pushing for better results in our next matches,” said the former AFC Leopards coach.
Elsewhere, Gor Mahia warmed up for this weekend’s Mashemeji derby with a 3-1 win over Bandari at Mbaraki Stadium yesterday,
Burundian import Jules Ulimwengu was the star of the match as his brace engineered Bandari’s fall, their first under Rwandese coach Andre Mbungo.
Nicholas Kipkirui netted the third goal while Bernard Odhiambo scored the consolation for the hosts. Gor are ranked sixth with 15 points after the win while the dockers lie two places behind them with 13 points.
At the Sudi Stadium, Nzoia Sugar returned to their winning ways following their last week loss in the hands of Wazito after whipping Zoo FC 2-1.