New Mathare Utd coach Akwana believes some of his untested players can do the job
Mathare United new coach Ezekiel ‘Rigo’ Akwana is hopeful the budding players who were acquired from the age-group set-up will be his trump card as he strives to turn round the fortunes of the 2008 Kenyan Premier League champions.
“The players are fast proving that they have come of age to challenge their experienced counterparts.
The versatility is there for all to see and I have a sense of satisfaction in their abilities,” said Akwana while revealing that he did not make any major signings.
The tactician’s assertion is well documented in the friendly match against Gor Mahia at Camp Toyoyo ground last week in which his team that was predominantly weaved around the youthful players narrowly lost 2-1 to K’Ogalo.
A large chunk of the youthful players were sourced from Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) zones including Baba Dogo, Huruma and Dandora.
Among the young hot shots training with the team are Brian Chege and Meshack Muyonga.
In the meantime, Mathare may have survived relegation by a whisker last season but Akwana believes he has the Mojo to put back smiles on the faces of the team’s fans.
Akwana made the declaration despite the team losing more than a dozen of experienced players in the last transfer window.
“I have just made a comeback in top flight action as a coach and certainly have a point to prove and if the players grab my philosophy we shall make it. Our target is to wind up in the top five positions,” he said.
He added: “I have asked the players to put behind them the team’s odd placing last season. It will not be business as usual.”
Asked if he will feel the pinch of the mass exodus of experienced players in the last transfer window, Akwana answered in the affirmative.
“Of course, some of them shall be missed but like I have said before, I have suitable replacements,” he said.
The experienced lot which parted ways with the ‘slum boys’ include Tyson Otieno, Jame Kinyanjui, David Okello, Lennox Ogutu, David “Cheche” Ochieng, Danson Kago, Cercidy Okeyo, Boniface Akenga and Dani Lua.
Akwana is a journeyman in the true sense of the word as he has coached several teams before returning to Mathare with whom he won the Moi Golden Cup, which has since been named FKF Shield Cup, in 1998.
He has previously coached AFC Leopards, Posta Rangers, KCB, Sofapaka, Kajiado Allstars and Mumbi Nationale.
For starters, Akwana disappeared from the limelight in early 2019 after parting ways with KCB where he was assistant coach.
Akwana’s second assistant Elvis Ayany and club captain Dennis Orenge also fell out with the team’s management and were also fired.
At Mathare, Akwanba has replaced Frank Ouna who is now the coach of Rwandese top flight league side Musanze.