Why Ingwe punished duo

Thursday, June 8th, 2023 00:00 | By
AFC Leopards captain Eugene Mukangula leaves the pitch after being substituted during a league match against Kenya Police. PHOTO/ RODGERS NDEGWA
AFC Leopards captain Eugene Mukangula leaves the pitch after being substituted during a league match against Kenya Police. PHOTO/ RODGERS NDEGWA

AFC Leopards yesyerday explained why key players Eugene Mukangula and Peter Thiong’o were stripped of their captaincy roles for the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League side.

The club, through chairman Dan Shikanda, confirmed the duo had been punished three days after the side lost 2-1 to already relegated Vihiga Bullets in a controversial league fixture at Bukhungu Stadium. The encounter saw their own fans rage at the players for a lackluster performance.

“We have been forced to take these drastic steps because the named players instigated a go-slow that saw senior players skip training and eventually led to the team’s 2-1 defeat away to Vihiga,” Ingwe chairman Dan Shikanda told People Daily Sports.

“It is all about insurbodination, they knew what they were doing was wrong but instead proceeded to skip training and this gave our coach a very difficult time to prepare the team, a new captain will be named in due course.”

Shikanda added: “A change is as good as a rest, it was long overdue to make change in the leadership of the team and the coaches will now give us the way forward, what I know is that we will have a new captain and his deputy before the next match.”

Asked if the players will be available to play before the season ends, Shikanda said: “Of course, they are available for selection but it will also depend on what the coach wants and if they want to play or not, it is upon them to decide.”

However, People Daily Sports have further investigated why the players were punished and can authoritatively report that money received from President William Ruto after the 2-1 victory against rivals Gor Mahia during the Mashemeji derby was the course of the problems at the club.

A source, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, explained that Ingwe players were not happy their officials had used the money from Ruto to pay them as monthly salary.

“The players were incensed by the fact that when Ruto gave them Ksh1million after the derby, the money was shared equally amongst themselves but when the month elapsed, the club did not remit their salaries to their accounts citing they had already been paid what Ruto gave out,” the source told People Daily Sports.

“In fact when Mukangula and Thiong’o asked the club’s top hierarchy why the salary had delayed, they were informed to relax and be easy because they still had money from Ruto in their pockets.”

The source continued: “Those utterances incensed the players who instead resorted to stage a go slow, infact the players were determined not to play against Vihiga until the salary matter was settled but they were convinced by a section of their fans to travel hence the reason they lost.”

Mukangula has been one of the key players since moving to the Den from Thika United while Thiong’o arrived from Kakamega Homeboyz, in the transfer which hit the headlines after the latter’s chairman Cleophas Shimanyula had refused to allow the player leave for AFC.

Ingwe, who are set for another trophyless campaign as they are sitting seventh on the table with 48 points, will next return to action against Sofapaka on June 21 before winding up the season with a fixture against Kariobangi Sharks on June 24.

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