It’s not over until it’s over, declares Leopards’ coach
Losing two matches on a trot is no doubt disheartening. This is what AFC Leopards have just undergone in the 2021/22 Football Kenya Federation Premier League that is in its fourth round.
Perhaps to put things in perspective, the result mirrors what head coach Patrick Aussiems earlier said that it would be a miracle for the Big Cats to win the league after the embargo imposed by Fifa not to sign new players after defaulting in settling dues of other players.
Barely four days after Leopards lost their recent Mashemeji Derby to arch rivals Gor Mahia, Ingwe returned to Nairobi from Mombasa a disheartened lot after succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bandari which lends credence to Aussiem’s observation.
But the teams deputy coach Tom “Gaza”Juma begs to differ, saying Leopards are destined for a better spell in the season and especially after the team, which is predominantly weaved around youngsters, applied sustained pressure on the hosts in the match played under sweltering conditions.
“The upcoming players need to be given time and, hopefully, they will gradually learn the ropes and successfully challenge their experienced counterparts.
We almost staged a thrilling late comeback and I must say we are still work in progress,” said Juma.
On his part, Bandari FC technical director Twahir Muhiddin poured plaudits on the players for what he described as a commendable job.
He added: “To me, this is a team which demonstrates the mentality of an entity which is intent on making amends after a stuttering start in the league campaign.
Of course, we made mistakes here and there and I must say we finally prevailed due to our battle-hardness nature.”
Bandari, who were smarting from a shock 2-0 win over Posta Rangers at home last weekend, played inspiring football from the onset and it was least surprising when former Sofapaka star Umaru Kasumba put them ahead in the 21st minute moments after the hosts had applied sustained pressure on Ingwe.
Besides Bandari, pride of place goes to Kakamega Homeboyz, Mathare United, Nairobi City Stars, KCB as well as newly promoted Talanta for reaping maximum points in the weekend.