The Pensioners’ tactician now says they will shift focus to the return leg fixture as soon as they arrive in Lusaka
Napsa Stars coach Mohamed Fathi has cautioned his players to stop celebrating after they managed a 1-0 victory against Gor Mahia in their first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup on Sunday.
The Zambian Pensioners scored the winner with four minutes left to the final whistle after Daniel Adoko’s thunderbolt from outside the box sizzled past the Gor Mahia defenders to beat keeper Boniface Oluoch.
With the return leg set for February 21 in Lusaka, coach Fathi has remained cautious, insisting the fixture is not won yet as they still have another 90 minutes to play.
“The game is not over yet,” Fathi told Goal after the match played at Nyayo Stadium. “We are celebrating here now and I have told my players that immediately we land in Lusaka; we must shift focus to the return leg.
“Gor Mahia is a very difficult team, they proved they are tough to beat until we were forced to change our tact, so we cannot be able to underrate them now we won, we have to stay focused and work on mistakes we committed ahead of the return leg.”
During the match, Napsa Stars scored their goal from the only shot on target and when asked whether that was his game plan, Fathi explained: “We did manage one short on target which resulted in the goal, but it was not our plan to play like that, you know the game was locked in the midfield so I had to plan and change the tact and it is the reason we managed to win the game.”
On playing away from home, Fathi said: “It is always difficult when you play away from home, you must be ready to play under pressure and to be honest, Gor Mahia gave us much pressure, they tried to score but my defence was alert, it is better now we look ahead to the return because our main target is to make the group stage of the completion.”
In an earlier interview, former Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack explained why he feels Gor Mahia still stand a chance of progressing to the group stage despite losing at home.
“It’s just the first half of the tie played, they still have 90 minutes to play again,” Polack told Goal from his base in England.
“So they have to prepare well during the week and work on improving their game defensively and in the offence and also be mentally ready.
“Football is all about scoring goals and they are only one goal behind, so it’s not over yet, they still stand a good chance to make it through to the group stage.”