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Tusker all set

Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY FRANCIS WADEGU

Tusker yesterday named their 18-man squad that leaves early today for the Seychelles to face St. Michel United in the first leg, preliminary round fixture of the African Football Confederation Champions League on Saturday.

The brewers will be without new signings Andrew Tololwa and Justin Monda both strikers. They are still recovering from slight knocks according to coach Robert Matano but he expects them to be fit for the return leg fixture.

“Leaving them is just a precautionary measure. We want them to be fully recovered when we continue our preparations for other assignments,” the coach said.

The CAF champions league and continental competitions football in general has proved a hard nut to crack for Kenyan clubs.

The brewers assistant captain and goalkeeper Samuel Odhiambo is of the opinion the winning mentality brought into the team by Matano who led Sofapaka to a first round exit in the tournament in 2010 will put the Ruaraka based side in good stead against the Seychellois.

“The coach does not know much about losing. That has slowly been internalised by the players so we will be going to the match with a positive attitude,” said Odhiambo.

Matano said they have prepared well for Saturday’s clash particularly with their December trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar where they played high profile warm up matches against Simba and Yanga, winning both encounters and then reaching the finals of the Mapinduzi Cup where they lost to Azam.

“We have prepared well for this match and now everyone is rearing to go.We will take every match as it comes and not get ahead of ourselves,” he stated.

Saturday’s match will indeed be the dawn of a new era for the brewers as only six players in the squad are part of the team that was eliminated at the first stage by Rwandan giants’ APR last season.

Yesterday the brewers warmed up for the weekend clash with a hard fought 2-1 win over Nationwide side Mahakama courtesy of goals from Ismail Dunga and Ugandan import Andrew Ssakayombwa. The brewers received five balls approved by CAF for continental assignments from Football Kenya federation media officer John Kariuki.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch,Samuel Odhiambo

Defenders: Joseph Shikokoti (capt), Humphrey Okoti, David Cheche Ochieng, Luke Ochieng, Mark odhiambo, Martin Kiiza

Midfielders: Peter Opiyo, Khalid Aucho, Maurice Odipo, Edwin Ombasa, Michael Olunga, Robert Omnuk.

STRIKERS: Jesse Were, Moses Arita, Ishmael Dunga, Andrew Ssakayombwa.