Coaches back June 30 CAF move, but..

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 00:00 |
John Macharia of Gor Mahia FC (left) dribbles the ball past Salim Abdallah of Nairobi City Stars during their Betking Premier League match at Utalii grounds. Photo/PD/RODGERS NDEGWA

Announcement by Football Kenya Federation on Monday that the club at the top of the BetKing Premier League table as at June 30 will be the country’s representative in the CAF Champions League, has received varying degrees of support from a number of club coaches.

This comes considering that the Kenyan league, which started late and was disrupted towards the end of March, is unlikely to have been concluded by June 30, the date set by the Confederation of African Football as deadline for submission of representatives for the forthcoming continental club competitions.    

Coaches are now mulling what the decision could mean even as FKF clarified that the top of the table leader as at deadline will not effectively mean the champion of the league who will only be determined after all matches are played and then awarded with a cash prize and trophy.

Tusker FC Coach Robert Matano is sympathetic with the decision as believes there is no other option but to deliver a leader in the standings by the stipulated date.

“CAF has already pronounced itself on the matter and there is no turning back given the timelines.

It is understandable if people complain but at the end of the day, we have no other options in place.” 

“The directive is out and so as managers we have to plan how to play accordingly.

However we all agree the league should at a later date be completed for the sake of fairness,” Matano told People Sport yesterday. The Brewers currently lead the standings with 34 points after 16 matches.

Kariobangi Sharks tactician William Muluya said coaches have no say on the matter, arguing that once the CAF Executive Committee had done its bidding, it had to be followed through.

“As Coaches, our work is to prepare players to be at their fittest. CAF has come up with the directive because of time factors.

Really it is out of our hands now so it means we simply must abide by the rules,” he said.

But KCB head coach Zedekiah Zico Otieno was not too happy with the decision because of its impact on player health but nevertheless supports the thinking around the decision.

“We have to look at the prevailing situation and then put ourselves in CAF’s shoes. These are abnormal times and so I think it is the best approach with all factors considered.

We do what we have to and it means managing our players well to avoid injuries.

I also believe FKF will ensure that by the said date, all teams will have played the same matches to avoid any complaints later,” quipped Zico whose side is third in the log.

Nzoia Sugar FC Coach Ibrahim Shikanda supported the idea but he is worried about the schedule expected.

“I worry a lot about the fitness conditions of players given the many matches to be played within a short span of time.

We have to remember players have not even trained well so are far from their best physically. I guess we just have to adjust and utilise our players appropriately.”

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