Zoo Kericho coach Sammy Okoth has rued the departure of Nicholas Kipkirui and Michael Madoya at the start of the new season as his side continues to struggle for goals.
Zoo succumbed to their sixth loss of the season to Tusker FC at the Kericho Green Stadium but Okoth believes this is a match they would have won easily if only they had they departed lethal finishers still in the side.
Kipkirui decamped for Gor Mahia while Madoya was poached by Tusker.
And as the brewers walked home content with the win, Okoth pinpointed his strikers’ lack of cutting edge in the final third as their major undoing in the clash but predicted of better tidings in their subsequent matches.
“It’s evident from the 12 rounds that the two (Kipkirui and Madoya) are yet to be fully replaced. Gaging from the number of chances we failed to convert, I think their replacements have big shoes to fill. We did not recruit but groomed fresh ones who have struggled to score goals like the departed duo. However, I am impressed on their qualities and I feel in the near future, they will be equal to the task,” said Okoth.
“We played well and created chances but we were unable to hit the target. When you create open chances but none yields a goal then you realize there is a problem which needs to be solved soon. The two are already gone and even though we miss them we have to focus on our next matches.”
Former Posta Rangers forward Timothy Otieno proved the difference between the two sides as his 34th minute penalty is all what Tusker needed to arrest their two-match winless run prior to yesterday’s match.
The eleven-time league champions had recorded back to back draws against Rangers ( 0-0 ) and Bandari ( 1-1 ) putting their title hopes in jeopardy but Otieno’s spot kick has put them back in the frame. The win moved the brewers to third and three points within the reach of league leaders Mathare United who have 25 points from 12 rounds. Defeat, on the other hand, leaves Zoo pegged at 13th with 11 points.
Meanwhile, Striker Jacques Tuyisenge has been ruled out of Gor Mahia’s trip to Angola ahead of the Caf Confederation Cup match against Petro Atletico.
Tuyisenge, who scored a brace against Zamalek in the opening Group D match, will have to stay behind for accumulated yellow cards. Also ruled out is defender Philemon Otieno, who, just like Tuyisenge is serving a suspension.
K’Ogalo is expected to depart the country tomorrow on a four-hour trip to Luanda.