Tacticians face former clubs

Friday May 13 2011

Mohammed Amin | NATION AFC Leopards supporters in a past Premier League match. Leopards face Chemelil Sugar on May 14, 2011.

Mohammed Amin | NATION AFC Leopards supporters in a past Premier League match. Leopards face Chemelil Sugar on May 14, 2011. 

By Charles Nyende [email protected]

It is only 10 rounds into the Kenyan Premier League but the plot has thickened so fast writers are spoilt for choice on which narratives to pick.

Seven matches are on the programme this weekend, each providing interesting characters and intrigues.

Saturday’s clash between AFC Leopards and Chemelil Sugar at City Stadium offers one of the most interesting match-ups from a coaching perspective.

Former Leopards and Chemelil tactician Nick Yakhama, now back at the helm at Ingwe, faces up to Noah Manoah, who has also coached both teams.

Yakhama decamped from Chemelil two weeks ago to rejoin Leopards, where he had a brief stint in 2009, while Manoah coached Chemelil in 2003 and Leopards in 2009.

The interesting bit, however, is that it was Yakhama who replaced Manoah at Leopards in 2009, just as the reverse has happened on the Chemelil job with Manoah taking over from Yakhama.

The loyalty of the two coaches will be to their current employers but, from their standpoint, neither would want to lose to his former club.

No grudge against team

“I hold no grudge against them (Chemelil) and we parted ways amicably,” Yakhama said yesterday. “Manoah is a friend of mine and we even talked yesterday (Thursday).

“I will want to win because it will be very special for me; very sweet to beat the club I was only recently coaching.”

Manoah preferred not to state his true desire, only saying he was not looking at the past. He added that he would have preferred to play his first match in charge at home rather than before an anticipated partisan Leopards crowd at City.

“I will worry a bit about their 12 players but we are working on it on the pitch where it will be 11 versus 11,” he said.

Leopards will be looking to rebound from their 2-0 ‘home’ loss to Thika United in Mumias last Sunday.

The former giants are sweating over the injury of reliable utility man Martin Imbalabala and Congolese imports Laurent Tumba and Hugo Nzoka, who are yet to resolve matters regarding their stay in the country.

KCB have stormed the summit of the table with a deadly strike force that has plundered a season-leading 18 goals.

The bankers will be keen to maintain the lead when they face Rangerson Sunday at Nyayo National Stadium and, with league top scorer Clifford Alwanga (seven goals) in the line-up, KCB are poised to ride their crescent.

“Alwanga was sparingly used by Mahakama last season and he has found the right club to shine in,” KCB coach Leonard Saleh said.