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Tusker seeks to intoxicate plucky Artar Solar in Champions League return leg

By , People Daily Digital
Saturday, September 18th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Tusker’s Clyde Senaji (right) vies for the ball against Artar Solar of Djibouti’s Alex Song who is also a former Arsenal and Barcelona player. Photo/PD/SPORTPICHA

Records are meant to be broken and this is what Tusker FC will be vouching for when they engage Artar Solar of Djibouti in the CAF Champions League preliminary round return match at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.

It can be recalled that in November 2018, Kenya’s representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup, Kariobangi Sharks, made light work of Solar by eliminating them 9-1 on aggregate.

Sharks were in an uncompromising mood, beating Solar 3-0 in the first leg match Djibouti before eclipsing them 6-1 in the reverse encounter in Nairobi to progress to the first round where the Kenyan emissaries were eventually booted out by the more experienced Asante Kotoko of Ghana.

Such is the documentation which Tusker will be desirous to surpass although the obvious is that Artar Solar is a vastly improved side going by their performance in the first leg match against the brewers.

To a layman, it would be totally foolhardy to expect Tusker to beat the Djibouti side by such a score line although the team’s coach Robert Matano alludes that qualification to the next stage is within their sights.

“We are not seeking to replicate what Sharks did but rather secure a victory that will see us qualify to the next stage.

Obviously, the worst mistake we can do is to take Aratr with pinch salt since anything can happen in football,” offerdd Matano.

He added: “The first leg match gave me a lot of insights and although we are enjoying an advantage of an away goal, we have to push harder for a more descent result.

We will play our usual game and I believe that the team that shall make the fewest mistakes shall win the match,”

Earlier on in the week, former Tusker indefatigable defender Musa Otieno advised the team not to underrate Solar given that they have in their ranks reputable players who are capable of spoiling the party for the hosts. 

“There are no longer small teams in Africa and given the pedigree of Solar in the first leg match, Tusker will need to strive to cover each blade of the grass on the pitch to cruise through,” said Otieno who played for Tusker before signing for Sanlam Santos of South Africa.

Here, going by Otieno, sentiments, perhaps the p[lqayer to watch in Solar is former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song whom Tusker should strive not to expose Emery Mvuyekure or Patrick Matasi either of who shall stand between the sticks.

For goals, Tusker are expected to lean on Boniface Muchiri and Humphrey Mieno with Eugene Asike leading forte in holding the defense together.