AFC Leopards- new signings fail to impress
AFC Leopards coach Tom Juma believes lack of fitness played a huge role as they settled for a 0-0 draw against FC Talanta in their 2023-23 FKF Premier League season opener on Sunday.
Ingwe, who are seeking to win the top-flight title they last lifted in 1998, looked a pale shadow of their old self in the contest at the Nyayo Stadium despite Juma fielding some of his new signings including Kevin Kimani and Brian Yakhama. Their struggles to score were more evident after Talanta were reduced to 10 men in the 60th minute when Lucas Weitere received a straight red card for a dangerous foul on Nyakeya.
Despite being handed the numerical advantage, Ingwe could not pose any threat to Talanta for the remaining 30 minutes of the game.
The 46-year-old Juma, who was taking charge of AFC as the head coach for the first time after being elevated to replace Patrick Aussems, blamed the lacklustre show on his players’ lacking match fitness insisting it hindered their pursuit to get victory in the opening fixture.
“Our fitness level was not the best in the game.
We did our best to get maximum points but you could see how my players struggled.
They played well, especially in the first half but in the second period we got tired and could not chase the ball,” said Juma.
“All we need to do now is work on our fitness level and we will be good to go. I will do everything to make sure we improve on our fitness level it is my main concern, otherwise, it was a 50-50 game. We could have won it had we converted our chances especially after they went one man down but we never took our chances.”
On his part, Talanta coach Ken Kenyatta praised his charges for a solid display, especially in the last 30 minutes after they were reduced to 10 men insisting he was satisfied with the outcome of the game.
“I am satisfied with the outcome and very happy with my boys because they did not disappoint me even after one of my players was sent off,” said Kenyatta adding, “We defended superbly as a team and it was advantage AFC after the red card but they failed to use the opportunity. I am very satisfied with how we played, though we are also not 100 per cent ready in terms of fitness level.
We just started the season and hopefully, we will get better as time goes by.”
Ingwe will return to action when they take on KCB at Kasarani Stadium on Friday while Talanta will host promoted side Shabana FC, who kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Murang’a Seal FC, at the Nyayo Stadium.