Over the last few years, Kenyan clubs have not fared well in continental football. The closest a Kenyan side has come to getting into the group stages was Sofapaka in 2011 when they narrowly lost out 4-3 to Tunisia’s Club Africain at the 1/8th round.
Tusker will face Mauritian side, AS Port Louis in the first leg preliminary round clash on Saturday, where victory over the two legs will see them come face-to-face with Sudanese champions, El Hilal at the next round.
Coincidentally, current Tusker FC captain, James Situma, also skippered Sofapaka in 2011 and he now hopes to turn the tears of sadness then to those of joy six years later.
“It was very painful that time because we were so close. It was tougher compared to now because we had to go through so many rounds to get to the group stages. We have a very good chance though it is not as easy as it seems.
“We will do our best and hope to achieve the target,” Situma who has just returned from an injury lay off noted.
Head coach, George ‘Best’ Nsimbe, who joined the team last January, hopes he can achieve this feat for a side that reached the final of the CAF Cup Winners Cup in 1994.
“It looks easy on paper but it will not be a walk in the park. Our ultimate goal is to make it to the group stages. We are taking each match at a time. We have 360 minutes to see our dreams turn into reality and we are working hard for that,” the Uganda-born coach told CAFOnline.com.
The team which won a double for the first time in their history last season has retained a huge chunk of their squad, but added on with nine new back-ups.
Nsimbe says he has already found a strong team to kick start their campaign not only to get to the group stages of continental football but also defend their twin titles.