How FOSA scouted Leopards in the run up to Caf tie
Ten days to the return leg of the preliminary round of CAF Confederation Cup, Madagascar’s FOSA Juniors are confident of eliminating AFC Leopards after their 1-1 draw in the first leg match played at the Bukungu Stadium, Kakamega on Sunday.
Very little was known locally about the three-year-old club before meeting Leopards, who have been in existence since 1964. Their little history aide, FOSA gave Ingwe a run for their money; marching the big cats toe-for- toe
This is the first appearance the Malagasy side is making at the continental stage after winning the Madagascar Cup last season.
Speaking to Citizen Digital after the match, head coach Bob Kootwjk revealed he came to Kenya ‘to know his opponents’, adding that the goal was now to seal a slot to the first round.
“Every match is difficult; there is no easy match at this level. What I was confident about is how they (Leopards) play, because I came to Nakuru and watched them during the Super Cup.
“My assistant also watched them in their friendly against Uganda’s KCCA. We knew they like playing long balls and paractised how to stop them,” the Dutch tactician revealed.
Asked if his ‘sneaking’ into Kenya is a revelation of his club’s zeal in their debut CAF outing, the coach asserted: “That is normal and part of his work,” adding that: “Well, you cannot just wait for an opponent you have no information about unless it is totally impossible to explore who they really are.
“I learnt a few things in the Super Cup match (between them and Gor Mahia)but now I have more details going into the return leg back home, which I’m sure of a better result,” added the coach.
At the same time, Kootwjk said that the Bukhungu surface was a big disservice to his charges, ironically sending a warning to Leopards to expect a more challenging turf in Madagascar.
“Honestly, the ground was too bumpy but my players did their best to cope. It will be different in the second leg and I hope it will be advantageous to them or to us, whoever uses the standard surface better,” he said jokingly.
The atmosphere at the full capacity Bukhungu Stadium was terrific, but the enthusiastic fans led by four Governors from Western Kenya left crestfallen from the uninspiring show.
Kakamega county boss Wycliffe Oparanya, Bungoma’s Wycliffe Wangamati, Vihiga’s Wilberforce Ottichilo and Busia’s Sospeter Ojamong – were all present to inspire the homeboys – but it came to naught.
Robert Matano, whose side is yet to win a competitive match this season, blamed his players for the loss saying they didn’t stick to the day’s plan.
“Generally we played badly, some players showed naivety you couldn’t expect. Definitely, we should have done better, but all is not lost.
“I will ring several changes in the second leg. That is a must, with a clearer idea because I’ve seen how they (FOSA) play,’’ said Matano.
The result puts Leopards under pressure, with the memory of Gor Mahia’s 3-2 elimination from the 2016 Caf- Champions League at the hands of CNaPs, another Malagasy side still fresh in mind.