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Football

Tusker reel in pain over Champions League miss

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Tusker FC coach Robert Matano during a past training session
  • Tusker FC will not play the Champions League due to Kenya’s FIFA Suspension
  • The brewers won the FKF Premier League title for a 13th time
  • Coach Matano says players are heartbroken

Tusker FC tactician Robert Matano is dejected with the team set to miss the 2022-23 CAF Champions League due to Kenya’s current suspension by FIFA. The brewers qualified for the Champions League for the second consecutive time after clinching the title last season.

However, they were excluded from last week’s draw as the situation with the FIFA suspension has not yet been resolved.

“It is very heartbreaking for the players because we worked so hard to win the league last season and qualify for the Champions League. It is a huge competition for any team and therefore to be out of it after qualifying is painful. We had looked forward to doing better than last season but now we cannot play because of the situation,” a dejected Matano said.

His sentiments were shared by captain Humphrey Mieno who said the Champions League miss has been a huge heartbreak for players who viewed the tournament as a platform to further their careers.

“The Champions League is always a platform for players to put themselves out there and invite bigger clubs to come sign for them. It is very painful for us that we have missed out on this and we hope it doesn’t happen again. As players we really worked hard to try win the league and qualify and this essentially means all the hard work goes for nothing,” Mieno noted.

No end in sight with FIFA suspension

Sports CS Amina Mohamed with Caretaker Committee chair Aron Ringera

Sports CS Amina Mohamed with Caretaker Committee chair Aron Ringera

There seems to be no end in sight with the FIFA suspension with Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed having for the third time extended the term of the Transition Committee for a further two months.

FIFA had expressly stated that the only way they would lift the ban is if the ousted Federation would be brought back into office.

Matano has now called on all those involved to sit at a round table and come up with a solution.

“We cannot run football with selfishness. Everyone needs to come down and talk for the sake of the players, coaches and referees. We have lost a lot of time with these wars and now we need a solution,” Matano said.

At the same time, Matano is already preparing his side for the new season, with the team already well advanced in their pre-season training.

But, the tactician is facing another headache in his preparations over the fate of goalkeeper Patrick Matasi. The custodian who joined Tusker at the start of last season has refused to train with the first team as he tries to force a move to Kenya Police FC.

Matasi says the club has offered him employment at the National Police Service hence his decision to move. But, the club are holding out for his exit as he still has one year remaining in his contract and have asked Police to meet their valuation.

Tusker wants Police to meet valuation

Tusker FC goalkeeper Patrick Matasi

Tusker FC goalkeeper Patrick Matasi

Police had said they would pay Sh200,000 to secure the services of the keeper, but Tusker’s new management have refused to bulge.

And now, Matano wants clarity on the situation.

“He is a top player and our number one goalkeeper but if he has to go somewhere, as a coach I cannot come in between. I would want for him to stay but a player wants to leave where he feels comfortable, there isn’t much you can do,” the coach further added.

“Some things are beyond my control. I only hope he can find a solution with the management so that we know the way forward,” he added.

Matasi returned to Tusker at the start of last season after a troubled second season in Ethiopia with St George and despite a difficult start having survived a serious car accident, picked up form and was vital in the brewers’ campaign for their 13th Premier League title.

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