Tusker bask in glory of title triumph

Tusker bask in glory of title triumph

Jacob Icia   Sub editor

Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano has revealed they were under pressure to prove they deserved the CAF Champions League ticket they were given before the conclusion of Football Kenya Federation Premier League season.

Traditionally, the league winner represents Kenya in the CAF Champions League, but due to the disrupted season brought about by Covid-19 pandemic, CAF wanted member associations to submit their representatives by June 30.

Thus, as Tusker were leading the league by then, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) gave the Ruaraka-based brewers the ticket amid murmurs by competitors that the criteria was unfair.

According to Matano, his charges deserved the early ticket but still needed to show it was not by fluke.

“There was nothing wrong with what the federation did. It was not our fault as a club neither was the federation doing it for fun. All teams had equal chances to be at the top by June 30 depending on competitiveness, and we made it.

“However, we wanted to show everyone that we deserved it by winning the title and I’m glad that we did it,” explained Matano, who is basking in the glory of winning his third league title.

‘King’ without crown

His captain Eugine Asike underscored Tusker had ‘no alternative’ but to balance the equation of the CAF CL and the title.

“We talked as a group and we agreed the Champions League ticket alone was not enough which also motivated us because something was missing. As much as we were sure of representing the country, we needed that medal – the trophy that was missing in the cabinet and it gave us the focus to keep pushing to the end,” Asike said.

And, the challenge was not just in the playing unit and the technical bench, as chairman Charles Obiny reckons.

“When that happened (given the ticket) I had a meeting with the team and told them that we were like a king without a crown, and so it was important for us to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that we are indeed the champions. That set the motion and renewed vigour towards winning the league, and I’m actually proud that we have done it,” a chuffed Obiny said.

Tusker will have a short time to prepare for their first Champions League match on September 10, against Djibouti’s Artar Solar.

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