Wrangles threaten AFC’s march

Friday May 11 2012

AFC Leopards’ Mombasa branch chairman, Maurice Amahwa (centre), and other officer bearers, support their club at Mbaraki Sports Club recently. Politics in Leopards’ national office continue to ruin the club’s title chances.

AFC Leopards’ Mombasa branch chairman, Maurice Amahwa (centre), and other officer bearers, support their club at Mbaraki Sports Club recently. Politics in Leopards’ national office continue to ruin the club’s title chances. 

By Odindo Ayieko [email protected]

Deeply-rooted politics at Kenyan Premier League side AFC Leopards have returned to haunt the club and are threatening to rob Ingwe of what was possibly going to be their best season in a decade.

From the pitch where the club had gone 23 matches unbeaten, Ingwe have now collected a point out of a possible nine and last weekend’s 3-0 humiliation in the hands of Nairobi City Stars painted a picture of a long bumpy ride in the title race.

A court ruling has stopped the club’s executive from running the side and accounts frozen, painting a gloomy picture for the league leaders both on and off the pitch.

Off the pitch, it’s not known who between Alex Ole Magelo and Ssemi Aina is the chairman of the club.

On the pitch, the seven-point lead Leopards held a fortnight ago has been cut to one and Leopards may be displaced from the league summit by the end of Saturday.

Leopards play Sony Sugar at Nyayo Stadium, hoping to revive their title credentials and Sony coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno has said they are travelling to Nairobi to add more misery to the den.

Sony ready for Leopards

“My team is fully fit. We are ready for AFC Leopards. I know they are a good side but we will cash in on their current crisis in confidence on the pitch,” said Otieno.

Leopards are without striker Allan Wanga while forward Mike Baraza and defender Eric Masika are doubtful, something that worries coach Jan Koops.

“Wanga has not been at his best. He has been struggling and will need some rest. We are waiting for a late fitness test before making a decision on Baraza and Masika,” said Koops.

Ingwe have also been unsettled with reports that Tanzania club Azam are targeting star performer Salim Kinje but Koops says their poor run is over and Leopards will return to their winning ways on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Sofapaka will take over KPL’s leadership if they beat Muhoroni away and Leopards lose to Sony.

Only a point separates Leopards and Sofapaka. Leopards play Sofapaka on Wednesday, a game that will determine who goes to the break at the top of the table.

At City Stadium, tenth-placed Gor Mahia take on KCB, with coach Zdravko Logarusic aiming at maintain K’Ogalo’s winning ways.