HOBART, Australia (CMC):Fast-bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose is seeking to fire up underdogs West Indies who face top-ranked Australia in the first of three Test matches from this evening (Caribbean time).Ambrose, the bowling consultant, is insisting that the West Indies have the manpower to challenge the home side in the three-match rubber following their humiliating 10-wicket loss to an inexperienced Cricket Australia X1.Australia defeated West Indies 2-0 in their last series played in the Caribbean earlier this year.”Even though we lost 2-0, there were moments or periods when we had them on the back foot and had their backs against the wall. And we never really finished them off,” recalled Ambrose.”So we believe we can compete, and not only compete, but we believe we can beat them, and that’s our focus: to beat Australia. Not just to compete but to win and, being the underdogs, sometimes it’s good to be that way.”The Caribbean side was able to avoid an innings defeat against the young Cricket Australia’s X1 on the strength of a stubborn partnership between Jason Holder and Kemar Roach.But their defeat has forced former players and commentators to question their confidence going into the opening Test at Hobart.However, the former fast bowler is insisting that given the expectation of the Australian public, the home side is the one under pressure to perform.”We have nothing to lose. As far as we are concerned, Australia is the one under pressure. They have to beat us because Australians expect them to steamroll us. So they are the ones under pressure, not us,” he said.”We’re here to do a job and we’re going to make a good job of it. We’re not going to worry about what has been said about us not being a good team or not going to compete and games being over in three days and all that kind of stuff.”Jason Holder’s men arrived in Australia not having won an overseas tour of note in 20 years and are ranked above only Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.Ambrose has described in-form batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner as the main threat in the Australian batting line-up, but contends that their middle order is vulnerable.”They are in some good form at the moment, and there are two good batsmen and, yes, they will be key. If we can get them out early for not too many runs, I still believe that the middle order of Australia is not that solid at the moment,” Ambrose pointed out.”I think Warner and Smith will be key, and once we get them out early, that could give us some leeway to really test them.”Ambrose has identified the bowling attack as the Windies’ strength and expressed confidence in Jerome Taylor’s ability to lead an attack capable of taking 20 Australian wickets.”Since I joined the team, it took me a little while to get them to buy into my concept because they are accustomed to certain things and, of course, it would not change overnight,” said Ambrose, who took up his consultancy role in February 2014.The first Test will be played at the Blundstone Arena, from Thursday to Monday. First ball is 10:30 a.m. (Wednesday 6:30 p.m. Jamaica time).
“We respect every team and we will handle Vihiga with the same seriousness we can handle a team from the KPL. We cannot afford to underrate anyone. They are in the semis because they are a good team,” Matano said.“We are going there to win and get to the final; nothing else. We cannot talk much about the game, we will talk on the pitch on Sunday,” the confident tactician further added.AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano gives instructions to his team at half time during their match against Thika United on September 20 2017. Photo/TIMOTHY OLOBULUMatano came inches close to winning the GOtv Shield title last season while with Ulinzi Stars. He however, was unable to coach the team between September and November due to illness, but gathered strength to make it to the pitch during the final against Tusker where they lost 1-0.“That is in the past and I cannot look back. Let us look at what is ahead of us now,” the tactician further said.Ingwe are looking to add color to an otherwise underwhelming season that has seen them almost crumble to the level of fighting relegation with Matano, the club’s third coach this season just but managing to save the sinking ship.Silverware in the GOtv Shield, a tournament they last won in 2013 would be a welcome gift to the AFC fraternity.“Every coach wants to win trophies. I am a winner and it is not different with me. We will fight,” Matano added.Charles Okwemba celebrates with teammates after scoring one of the two Vihiga United goals in a GOtv Shield Quarter final clash against defending champions Tusker FC on August 20, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaAFC’s 2-0 win over Thika United on Wednesday pushed them to 11th in the Kenyan Premier League standings, a sure boost of confidence as they prepare to take on Vihiga on Sunday. The win also pushed their bid for a top eight finish but Matano has asked for consistency.“We are winning, playing well and that is good. We have to finish in the top eight and with nine games to go, we have to work harder. There are small things we need to work on but more so our consistency. We have to keep winning,” Matano added.AFC Leopards are six points away from a top eight slot with nine games to go and the tactician has asked his players not to drop any more points along the road.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano during their match against Thika United on September 20 2017. Photo/TIMOTHY OLOBULUNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21- AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano has urged his charges to put in a performance worth their club’s stature on Sunday when they take on National Super League leaders Vihiga United in the semi-finals of the GOtv Shield in Nakuru.However, the experienced tactician has warned his players not to take Vihiga lightly with the side having beaten defending champions Tusker FC 2-0 in the quarter finals and enjoying a good run of form in the second tier.