'Hurt' Leopards seek soldiers' scalp - Daily Nation

'Hurt' AFC Leopards seek soldiers' scalp

Friday February 23 2018

Duncan Otieno of AFC Leopards (right) tussles for the ball with Piepre Michael Tavina Rakotorisoa of Fosa Juniors during their Caf Confederation Cup match at the Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega County on February 11, 2018. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE |

Duncan Otieno of AFC Leopards (right) tussles for the ball with Piepre Michael Tavina Rakotorisoa of Fosa Juniors during their Caf Confederation Cup match at the Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega County on February 11, 2018. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By CELLESTINE OLILO
More by this Author

After their painful exit from the Caf Confederation Cup on Wednesday, AFC Leopards switch their attentions back to the Kenyan Premier League with a clash against Ulinzi Stars on Sunday at the Thika Sub-County Stadium.

Kenyan clubs hardly ever make it past the preliminary stages of continental competitions, but the fact that Ingwe performed so sorely against such unfancied opposition as Fosa Juniors both home and away, turned the two-legged outing into an ordeal.

Ingwe recorded a barren draw against Fosa Juniors on Wednesday in Madagascar when they needed to win or at least post a high scoring draw to progress to the next stage of the competition.

They were tossed out that first stage, leaving Fosa Juniors to proceed to the next stage of preliminaries where they will face AS Port Louis of Mauritius.

The soldiers look like manageable opponents judging by the fact that they lost to lowly Sony Sugar a fortnight ago, but there is a troubling statistic that indicates that Ingwe have won this fixture only once in the last five years.

Based on those statistics, it means that the soldiers have an upper hand and they will be hoping to avenge the 1-0 loss they suffered against the big cats in October last year.

Leopards coach Robert Matano is likely to rely on the frontline quartet of Vincent Oburu, Papa Arko, Aziz Okaka and Henry Uche, as Victor Majid marshals the midfield.

“We are back and now we have to focus on the league. We started badly in the home match and we failed to make amends in the return match (against Fosa Juniors), but we have a good chance of making things right in the league so that is where our focus is,” said Ingwe captain Duncan Otieno.

While Matano has a full squad to work with, the soldiers will have to do without forward Enosh Ochieng, who scored Ulinzi's first goal of the season against Zoo Kericho, but who has not played since then due to a metatarsal injury.

League champions Gor Mahia, who progressed to the first round of the Caf Champions League ,will be in Machakos Sunday to face Kariobangi Sharks in their third league match of the season.

Rwandan striker Jacques Tuyisenge, who missed the 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea’s Leones Vegetarianos on Wednesday due to injury, is still doubtful for this match.

Kariobangi Sharks on the other hand will welcome first choice goalkeeper John Oyemba who has been out for two weeks. Gor beat Sharks by identical 3-1 scores in the sides’ meetings last season.

FIXTURES

Saturday

Nakumatt v Sony Sugar (Ruaraka, 2pm)

Posta Rangers v Chemelil Sugar (Camp Toyoyo, 3pm)

Bandari v Wazito (Mombasa, 3pm)

Kakamega Homeboyz v Vihiga United (Bukhungu, 3pm)

Tusker v Nzoia Sugar (Ruaraka, 4.15pm)

Sunday

Mathare United v Sofapaka (Machakos, 2pm)

AFC Leopards v Ulinzi Stars (Thika, 3pm)

Zoo Kericho v Thika United (Kericho Green, 3pm)

Kariobangi Sharks v Gor Mahia (Machakos, 4.15pm)