Robert Matano @KPL
Robert Matano @KPL

Matano: Discipline, fighting spirit was lacking at Leopards

AFC Leopards coach Robert Matano has attributed their rise in performance to discipline and a competitive spirit.

Matano told that when he took over coaching duties at Ingwe last month, players were not committed to training, which was part of the reason they performed poorly in the period preceding his appointment.

“There is a bit of consistency in the team right now. All the players are coming to training every day, unlike just when I came, where some players weren’t turning up for training. Or not coming on time. Our performance is improving now because players have realized that to get a starting role they must work hard for it,” he said.

Leopards, against the odds and pundits’ predictions, edged out match favourites Tusker 1-0 in their midweek match on August 24 before holding runaway league leaders and overwhelming pre-match favourites Gor Mahia to a 1-1 draw three days later.

In that match, Ingwe displayed a classy game especially in the first half with defender Dennis Sikhayi, midfielder Victor Majid and winger Samuel Ndung’u outstanding.

Gor’s Musa Mohammed turned a cross from Ndung’u into his own net in the 19th minute of the match as Leopards took a surprise but deserved lead. Rwandan danger man Meddie Kagere brought things back to level with an immaculate strike in the 36th minute.

“We played our level best. I think most players gave their all in the game although I still feel they we gave the match away. We dominated from the first half so we deserved to win the game,” Matano said.

He went on: “Even the goal that we conceded was just a result of a small mistake. The defender could easily have cleared the ball but he didn’t. That is unfortunate. I feel disappointed for our fans who came to the match expecting a win. But looking at the overall development of the team, I can’t complain. Day by day the team is getting better.”

After a torrid period where they lost three straight matches, Leopards have now collected four points in their last two and from two of the big names in local football, and will be hoping that they can built a serious momentum to take them to the first third of the league table.

The former multiple champions currently lie 13th on the table with 24 points, 20 adrift of leaders Gor.


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