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AFC Leopards chase trio to bolster attack

Sunday August 02 2020
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Eliud Owalo (right), a Management consultant and football fan greets AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda at Panafric hotel, Nairobi on August 1, 2020. Owalo presented the club with sh300,000.PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID KWALIMWA

AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda has confirmed the team's interest in recruiting attacking trio, Derrick Otanga, Peter Thiong'o, and Musa Masika ahead of the 2020/21 Kenyan Premier League season.

Shikanda spoke exclusively to Nation Sport on Saturday, at the sidelines of a luncheon hosted for the team by city-based management consultant Eluid Owalo at a Nairobi hotel.

Owalo, also an ardent football fan, contributed Sh300,000 to the players and technical bench and urged Shikanda to ensure the club regains its competitive edge on the pitch.

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Eliud Owalo (right) a Management consultant and football fan hands over cash to AFC Leopards Captain Robinson Kamura on August 1, 2020 at Panafric Hotel during a luncheon hosted by Owalo where he presented Sh300,000 as a boost to the team during coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He said: "It is crucial to work with the private sector to bring money to the club. I challenge management also to develop a business plan that can bring revenue to the club and exhibit good governance while at it. The proceeds from shirt sponsorship is not enough. The management of this club has to exhibit good governance."

Leopards have flattered to deceive both on the local and continental front since last winning the league title in 1998.

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But Shikanda, a former Kenya international, and club coach Anthony Kimani have been making the right noises about challenging for the premiership next season even though the stats suggest that there's quite some bit of work to be done.

Sixth-placed Ingwe scored 30 times in 23 league matches before the competition was indefinitely suspended in March after the coronavirus outbreak.

This tally of goals is 17 shy of what league leaders Gor Mahia managed from a similar number of matches. Second-placed Kakamega Homeboyz also scored 45 times in 23 matches and this may be why Shikanda and Kimani are looking to bolster the attack.

"With Thiong'o it (the situation) is straight forward because he wants to join us and we are made to understand his contract with Kakamega Homeboyz has expired," explained Shikanda.

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Wazito's Musa Masika (left) vies for an aerial ball with Gor Mahia's Joash Onyango during their Kenyan Premier League match at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on January 4, 2020. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

"We are also looking at Masika, a young talented player who wants to play in Europe. He can help improve our team's attack team and we will offer him a good platform to mature and then move to the next level. The technical bench has followed Otanga since he was at Sony. He opted to sign for Wazito last year but now he is available."

Thiong'o, a tricky winger with pace to burn, scored eight goals and created 11 more for his teammates at Homeboyz last season while Masika and Otanga each scored three goals for Wazito in the league.

"We have experienced an interesting period because the club struggled so much on the financial front before Covid-19. But the situation has improved during Covid-19 and we have managed to get in sponsors and the club is in far better shape compared to last season. I thank the government, Owalo and other friends for supporting us" explained club treasurer Maurice Chichi.

Kimani and club captain Robinson Kamura have also talked up the club's chances of winning the league title next season.

"It has been five months without (playing) football and we miss doing it. We will appreciate it if the government can come up with a way to ensure we get back to playing football. Next season, whenever it starts, will provide a big opportunity for AFC Leopards to win the league." said Kamura

Kimani added: "Last season was a learning process and we now want to see if we can challenge for the title. The process involves planning, having a good pre-season of about six weeks, and then bringing in some quality players."

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed is in the next few weeks expected to outline the government's plan on the resumption of sports activities.

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