Kenyan champions Tusker FC arrived in Alexandria on Tuesday, looking to stage a huge upset when they take on Egyptian giants Zamalek SC in the return tie of their TotalEnergies CAF Champions League second preliminary round on Friday.
The Kenyan champions trail Zamalek by a solitary goal from the first leg played in Nairobi last Saturday and will need a win at the Borg El Arab Stadium to earn what will be a first ever qualification to the group phase of the elite African Club Competition.
Head coach Robert Matano remains optimistic that they have what it takes to turn the tables on the White Knights at their own backyard.
“I know it is possible. The game is not yet over and we will give our all in the return tie. We have seen them and we have now known what to do to contain them. We will work on a good game plan and I believe we will get a result,” said the tactician.
He added; “We played with a lot of fear in the first leg and we couldn’t stick to our game. We will try to correct that and hopefully we can score some goals.”
Team captain Eugene Asike also believes the team can inspire a win in Alexandria, a venue where the hosts have seldom lost. But they believe they can pit their names in the books of history with a good performance.
“I believe we have what it takes because we are a good side. We only had some mistakes in the first leg which we have worked to correct and I believe if we pull ourselves together, we can be able to turn this round,” Asike says.
“The players are really motivated because they want to do something positive. The belief is high and the confidence is also high so it is just up to us to go to the pitch and do our best,” he added.
Zamalek will look to finish the tie early and continue their journey towards the group stage.
Head coach Patrice Carteron is cautious despite having the advantage in the tie.
“This game is not yet over and we have to remain focused. We need to play better at home and get the win. Tusker is a very good side and they showed that. They are very organized on and off the ball and we need to be at our best and very cautious,” he said.
The French tactician added; “For us we have our targets as a team and we have to take each game at a time. We cannot start thinking of the final again but instead focus on every game that is ahead of us.”
A win or a draw at home will be enough to sail Zamalek to the group phase of the competition.