Kenya: Heartbroken Matano Decries Champions League Absence As Tusker Miss Out On Continental Extravaganza

Nairobi — Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano says he is heartbroken after the FKF Premier League champions missed out on the draw of the 2022-23 season of the CAF Champions League due to Kenya’s suspension by world football governing body FIFA.

The tactician says the miss has crushed the team’s morale, but hopes a quick resolution to the current football impasse can be reached to ensure that Kenyan teams get back to continental football next season.

“It is not good for us because we worked so hard to win the league and represent the country but it was not possible because of the confusion that is there in Kenyan football. It has affected us and we need to end this thing to ensure we can play continental matches again,” the tactician said.

He added; “The company has invested a lot in the team and such opportunities give them a good avenue for exposure of the brand outside the country and missing this is not only heartbreaking for the players but them as well.”

His sentiments are shared by skipper Humphrey Mieno who noted; “As players we are definitely heartbroken because that means all that hard work from last season goes to nothing. This is always a good channel for players to get exposure out there to not only improve themselves but also try to make the move outside the country and to miss it is really a huge heartbreak.”

Despite the messed up nature of the season, Tusker battled from a poor start to win the FKF Premier League title on the last day of the season, edging out Kakamega Homeboyz on goal difference.

However, their hope of returning to the Champions League was crushed when they were not included in the Champions League draw due to the current FIFA suspension.

Sports Cabinet Secretary has not been successful in getting audience with FIFA, who have insisted that the ousted Federation has to be brought back in office for the suspension to be lifted.

Amina has however continued trusting the leadership of the game in the country to the FKF Caretaker Committee which was morphed into a Transition Committee with their tenure now extended for a further two months, until October.

And now, Matano hopes that there can be dialogue between all the bodies to solve the impasse.

“We should leave aside pride and arrogance. What is destroying our football is selfishness because everyone wants something and no one wants to compromise. The current people managing football do not have the passion to manage the game. They don’t want to manage football in a good way,” quipped the tactician.

“We should solve the issues quick enough because we are losing a lot of time,” he added.

Already the national women football team Harambee Starlets missed out on qualification to the Cup of Nations, the men’s team are not playing in the 2023 AFCON qualifiers while Vihiga Queens are also not playing the CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers.

Despite the mess, Matano is hopeful that a solution will be found even as the team prepares for the new season.

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