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Leopards needs warriors who can die for the jersey

Sunday March 04 2018
matano_pix

Robert Matano was on April 24, 2018 unveiled as new Tusker coach, taking over from Ugandan Sam Timbe who was fired on April 22, 2018 after a string of poor results. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By PETER LEFTIE

For those who have followed Ingwe over the years, the decision to sideline coach Robert Matano was not entirely surprising.

World over, the coaching profession is a very thankless job; you win the World Cup or Uefa Champions league trophy today and two months later, you are out of a job. If you disagree with me, ask the likes of Jose Mourinho, Luis Van Gaal, Claudio Ranieri or Roberto di Matteo.

Not to say that Matano is fired, no. According to Oscar Igaida, the secretary general, ‘The Lion’ has just been asked to take a one match break to allow the club administration to evaluate his performance.

Meaning that depending on how the job evaluation set for Tuesday pans out, we could have ‘The Lion’ back in the dugout for the next match. Let’s wait and see.

But the trouble with Ingwe does not start and end with Matano. It runs much deeper.  It also has nothing to do with the quality of the players, that is in abundance, and truth be said, Matano and his bench have played their part in exposing that abundance of talent.

Midfield pillar

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Show me who is better than Duncan Otieno, whether playing in his natural holding midfield position or even as a centre back?

Show me which team in this part of the world boasts of two very gifted right backs in Dennis Shikhayi and Yusuf Mainge? Or a young but outrageously talented centre back as Michael Kibwage?

Where does one mine talents such as the two youngsters Marvin Omondi Nabwire and Clyde Shenazi, both exceptionally gifted attacking midfielders? You may not have seen much of the latter, but his time will come.

But with all this talent, there is something sorely missing, hence the mixed results the boys are registering so far. Other than “Dante” – our very able captain, who in this squad possesses the leadership acumen to issue the rallying cry in the dressing room when the chips are down?

Who is there to scream at Shikhayi that yes, you are very gifted going forward, but can you perfect your ability to fall back into position when you get dispossessed?

Who is able to remind Marvin and Shenazi that they will only attain their full potential when they complement their near-perfect passing skills with eyes for the goal?

Or remind Baker Lukooya that with all his pace and trickery on the flank, he must develop some element of unpredictability that when the opponent expects him to sprint, he slows down or changes direction.

With all this embarrassment of talent, this team needs warriors, fighters, guys who are ready to sweat blood for the jersey. A team that knows that it is never over until it is over. A team that is ready to fight into “Fergie time” if circumstances demand.

That steel won’t come from Matano, it will come from each of the players appreciating what the blue and white strip means.

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