No bowing down in face of continental exit, Mwalala declares

Bandari FC head coach Bernard Mwalala believes there is much to take from the team’s short stay in the CAF Confederations Cup, where they narrowly missed out on a place at the tournament’s group stages after falling to Guinean giants Horoya AC.

Bandari, the FKF Shield holders, were on Sunday 25 November beaten 1-0 by Horoya at home, to complete a 5-2 aggregate loss and after a run that had seen the Dockers sail through the opening two preliminary rounds, Mwalala noted that there is a lot to be proud for.

He blamed the loss on the big gap in experience carried by the two sides, with Bandari making it this far for just their first time in history while Horoya are regulars at the group stages.

Did the country proud

“We were hard done by inexperience, while we also missed our best chances but I believe we did the country proud and we exit the tournament with our heads high. We have shown the country that we have good players and we have the needed talent,” he said after the match.

Going forward, Mwalala has singled out the need to strengthen his team, noting that inadequacies in attack primarily were to blame for their exit, even though he absolved his players, only bemoaning inexperience.

“We will have to beef up the striking force for such assignments in future; we lacked that forward who can kill off such matches but I can’t blame my players because like I said, we lack the experience of playing at this level. I think we also had deficiencies in defending and in midfield and we will try to beef up,” he added.

Back to domestic action

The team will have very little time to recover from the exit, as domestic action calls, starting Wednesday 6 November, when they tour Kisumu for a game against Western Stima. With fan support and good focus, Mwalala is confident that the team can make another continental appearance next season.

“We shift focus now to the Premier League; we play Western Stima in Kisumu and while there could be fatigue on the players’ part, I won’t want to think of that so much. I am looking at that as an opportunity to restart our quest for a continental return and I am calling on fans to continue supporting us,” he noted.

Back to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), Bandari are placed seventh with 11 points from six matches.