Let’s make AFC Leopards great again next season

Monday November 13 2017

AFC Leopards striker Vincent Ouma (left) celebrates his goal with teammate Musa Mudde during their Sportpesa Premier League match against Chemelil Sugar  on November 12, 2017 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

AFC Leopards striker Vincent Oburu (left) celebrates his goal with teammate Musa Mudde during their Sportpesa Premier League match against Chemelil Sugar on November 12, 2017 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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It is heart warming to see AFC Leopards fans promising total support to the club ahead of next season.

A group calling itself ‘Friends of AFC Leopards’ under former officials Vincent Shimoli, Allan Kasavuli, and Mike Litunda. Now, this is what a club that is preparing for Caf Confederation Cup next year needs.

The three, among others, are credited with helping Ingwe return to the top-flight league after they were relegated in 2006. The team is working closely with Cecafa Secretary-General Nicholas Musonye who believes Caf tournaments will provide a platform for revival.

Musonye is on record as having appealed to the Government to assist AFC Leopards and African Champions League-bound Gor Mahia since they will be representing the country internationally.

I join hands with Musonye in urging the two clubs to invest heavily in their technical bench and the playing unit to attract to succeed in continental competitions.

The competitions offer a platform for marketing Kenyan players abroad to scouts from big clubs since the matches will be screened all over Africa live on television.

Kasavuli said with the blessing of the club management, Friends of AFC Leopards, which has been helping the club behind the scenes, is working on Sh5 million budget to enable the club sign quality players ahead of Caf Confederation Cup. But all these remain just promises.

Others like Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, Governor Mike Sonko and Makadara MP George Aladwa have also helped the club in the past, but the club needs a sustainable support system.

Focus must be placed on making Leopards great again. The club should return to the continental scene with a bang and avoid a first round exit in the competition.

Since Gor Mahia won the Africa Cup Winners Cup in 1987, Kenyan clubs have not done well in Caf competitions. After having a word with ‘Friends of AFC Leopards’, what came out is the desire that the club should reach the group stage of Caf Confederation Cup, which comes with the added benefit of cash reward.

Former Kenyan internationals JJ Masiga, Josephat Murila, Peter Lichungu and Rignald Asibwa who are also legends of AFC Leopards have expressed willingness to help share the values that helped them excel during their playing days with the current squad.

With all the plans put in place ahead of the new season and with coach Robert ‘The Lion’ Matano promising major improvement at the club next season, the sky is the limit for our beloved ‘Ingwe’.

Fans were excited upon hearing that ‘The Lion’ will be staying put at the den next season to make Ingwe great again.

Matano has also said that speculation regarding the future of Salim Abdalla and Victor Majid at the den is unfounded and promised fans to expect an enjoyable season.

Matano has worked wonders at the club and has instilled a winning mentality on the youthful and inexperienced playing unit, and he has promised to do more.

Matano has said he wants to stay on to oversee a turnaround he initiated at the club in the ending season. The 13-time Kenyan Premier League champions won the GOtv Shield to guarantee the club continental football next season.
The club chairman Dan Mule has also confirmed that the coach has the full support of the office and has openly said will not overstep his mandate by attempting to sign players for Matano.

But getting Kepher Aswani back to the club, we will have a good attacking side. We need to hold on to our players and sign another attacker in the mould of Masoud Juma of Kariobangi Sharks, and defender Jackson Saleh from Nakumatt to perform better next season.