Mwalala eager to burst through African terrain

Bernard Mwalala

Bandari FC head coach Bernard Mwalala is eager to prove his worth among the continent’s elite coaches as he takes on an ambitious plan to sail the dockers to the high seas of African club football.

The 37-year old who draws inspiration from Liverpool FC tactician Jurgen Klopp credits his brave decision to get into coaching at an early age to his former coach at Harambee Stars Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee and former boss at Uganda’s SC Villa, now with Zamalek in Egypt, Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic.

"Micho was like a father to me in Uganda and he opened up so many doors for me to go for trials in South Africa, Serbia and China" Bernard Mwalala
Bernard Mwalala 1

“They really inspired me a lot with their work ethic and I picked many lessons from them. Micho was like a father to me in Uganda and he opened up so many doors for me to go for trials in South Africa, Serbia and China,” Mwalala told CAFOnline.com

Playing in the Total CAF Confederation Cup for their second time, Bandari have surpassed their maiden attempt in 2016 when they failed to go past the preliminary round. This comes hot on the heels of their second spot finish in the Kenyan Premier League, their highest ever.

“I think it is what I missed as a player that helped me inspire my team. I played in continental football four times but we never progressed beyond the preliminary rounds. I think if we did, our lives as players would have been different. I tell my players that this is a chance for them to advance their careers and they should strive to go as far as possible; further than I did,” Mwalala noted.

Mwalala, a feared striker in the East African region in his hey days played twice in the CAF Champions League with SC Villa in 2004 and 2005 before doing the same with Tanzania’s Young Africans (Yanga) in 2006 and 2007.

He ventured into coaching at the tender age of 28 after suffering a career ending injury.

The Kenya FA Cup Champions based in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa will face Tunisia’s US Ben Guerdane in the first round of the Total Confederations Cup on Saturday afternoon at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani in Nairobi.

“I have analyzed Guerdane and it will not be an easy tie. They are a very technical and tactical side with good ball playing players. We cannot afford to give them space to play. We have to shut the spaces and play at a good tempo,” Mwalala said.

“We are starting at home and one lesson I have picked all along is that a result at home is really important. If we can win here and keep a clean sheet, we have a squad capable to finish the job away from home,” the coach further states.

"We are starting at home and one lesson I have picked all along is that a result at home is really important"

Bandari progressed to the first round after going past Sudan’s Al Ahly Shendy on the away goal rule following a 1-1 aggregate draw. Mwalala now says they want to take a step at a time and push for qualification into the group stages.

Ahead of the Guerdane game, Mwalala is worried with the fitness of twin strikers Yema Mwana and Abdallah Hassan who have just returned to first team training after recovering from knocks. He however hopes the next few days will see them return to full fitness and be ready for the Tunisian job.

Fixtures

13.09.2019 Omdurman El Khartoum (Sudan) vs Motema Pembe (DR Congo)

14.09.2019 Nairobi Bandari (Kenya) vs US Ben Guerdane (Tunisia)

14.09.2019 Kigali AS Kigali (Rwanda) vs Proline (Uganda)

14.09.2019 Lome Maranatha (Togo) vs Djoliba (Mali)

14.09.2019 Libreville Pelican (Gabon) vs Rangers (Nigeria)

14.09.2019 Obuasi Ashantigold (Ghana) vs RS Berkane (Morocco)

14.09.2019 Manzini Young Buffaloes (Eswatini) vs Bidvest (South Africa)

14.09.2019 Cairo Pyramids (Egypt) vs CR Belouizdad (Algeria)

15.09.2019 Cotonou ESAE (Benin) vs Salitas (Burkina Faso)

*15.09.2019 Sfax Ittihad (Libya) vs HUSA (Morocco)

15.09.2019 Algiers Paradou (Algeria) vs CS Sfaxien (Tunisia)

15.09.2019 Curepipe Bolton City (Mauritius) vs Zanaco (Zambia)

15.09.2019 Zanzibar Malindi (Zanzibar) vs El Masry (Egypt)

15.09.2019 Conakry Santoba (Guinea) vs San Pedro (Cote d’Ivoire)

15.09.2019 Nelspruit TS Galaxy (South Africa) vs CNaPS (Madagascar)

15.09.2019 Dar Azam (Tanzania) vs Triangle (Zimbabwe)

*Match will be played in Sfax (Tunisia)