Nairobi — Among the issues head coach Robert Matano hopes to solve for reigning champions Tusker FC before the season starts, is his side’s defense, basing his assessment on recent friendly matches his side has played.
The team was held to a 2-2 draw by fellow Premier League side Bidco United on Saturday and earlier last week, won 4-3 against National Super League side Murang’a Seal.
“We are conceding many goals and that is a concern which we hope to look at and improve on. We should be able to defend better and as a team,” said the veteran tactician who has led the brewers to back to back titles.
From the backline that conceded the least number of goals last season, only Christopher Oruchum left as he joined Tanzania’s Namungo FC at the end of his contract.
Goalkeeper Patrick Matasi is meanwhile just resuming training with the rest of the team after failing to force a move to Police FC by absconding most of the pre-season training.
Matano is now meanwhile trying to find the right balance in defence with the arrival of Tom Teka and Boniface Onyango from Kariobangi Sharks.
Tusker will now move their pre-season training to Kericho on Monday where they will be stationed for one week as they firm up the team, especially with seven new faces joining in.
Matano hopes the camp in Kericho will be vital in building synergy and team spirit as they prepare to lay assault at a possible 14th Premier League crown.
“We want to defend our title and do it firmly and well. That is the expectation. We will work hard towards that and I am optimistic and confident, we have the team to deliver that,” said the coach.
Against Bidco on Saturday, Tusker had to come from behind twice to end the game 2-2, with coach Matano fielding two different teams in either half and giving everyone a chance to play.
Emmanuel Mogaka opened the scoring for Bidco from the penalty spot after a lapse at the back led to a foul inside the box.
The brewers however responded through Rodgers Ouma. The midfielder ran to a ball chipped over the backline by skipper Humphrey Mieno before lifting it over the keeper.
Mogaka once again scored the second from Bidco from another penalty coming off a similar error at the back by Tusker.
The brewers equalized in the second half, new signing Eric Otieno slamming the ball into the net after picking up a sublime pass from Apollo Otieno.