Leopards simply enjoyed ‘sweet’ Sony- Kitambi
Tanzanian AFC Leopards caretaker coach Dennis Kitambi has revealed a relaxed approach won them Sunday’s Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match against Sony Sugar in Awendo.
Sony, known for their stubbornness while playing in their Awendo Green Stadium home ground, surrendered to Leopards who were for the first time led from the dugout by Kitambi, since the suspension of head coach Robert Matano in the midweek.
Speaking exclusively to Citizen Digital after the 2-0 win, Kitambi said his charges ‘just enjoyed themselves’ hence the win.
“I told my players to just go and enjoy the game. I told them to enjoy kicking the ball around, because you can’t give your best if you play with the consequence of the next mistake you make in mind,” Kitambi charged.
Although more pressure was on Matano after uninspiring season start, players were not spared the blame after Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Sofapaka.
“When we got the first goal in under 20 minutes, the players found more confidence in playing freely. We should have done better even in the second half had they (Sony) not changed to a twin-striker system, because we had to respond by tightening the midfield more.
” That’s why I had to rest captain Duncan Otieno with Victor Majid and we got it right,” he added.
Kitambi, who landed to the den courtesy of former English man Stewart Hall, said the win means more will be demanded from the team going forward.
“Next we face Mathare United, a very strong side in all aspects. We must now work hard to ensure we don’t erase the memory of this match with a negative result,” noted the tactician.
A player who sought anonymity echoed Kitambi’s sentiments, suggesting Matano’s pressure to players is always beyond the healthy line of good performance.
“It’s true one of the coaches roles is to admonish players when they fail to deliver, but when it is overdone, it kills the player.
“You tend to fear making a mistake every time you have an opportunity to try a new thing, not knowing what awaits you from him (Matano),” the player said, recalling the dress down the team was subjected to after their 1-1 draw against FOSA juniors in the CAF Confederation Cup first leg preliminary in Kakamega.
The revelation comes as Matano awaits to meet Leopard’s executive leaders to explain poor results in the six matches he has been in charge of so far this season.
In the six matches, he won one, lost two and drew three; against Ulinzi Stars, Gor Mahia, Sofapaka, FOSA Juniors (Madagascar) and Posta Rangers respectively.
It is unclear if Matano will be in charge of the Mathare’s match, pending the Tuesday’s date with the executive committee.