ASHIHUNDU: Leopards should win SportPesa Shield for fans - Daily Nation

Leopards should win SportPesa Shield for fans

Monday September 10 2018

AFC Leopards striker Alex Orotomal (second left) celebrates after scoring against Thika United during their SportPesa Premier League match at Thika Stadium on August 18, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO |

AFC Leopards striker Alex Orotomal (second left) celebrates after scoring against Thika United during their SportPesa Premier League match at Thika Stadium on August 18, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

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With SportPesa Shield being the only trophy within reach for AFC Leopards, it is my thinking that the club’s players should win it for their faithful fans and book a ticket to next year’s Caf Confederation Cup.

The only way the boys can make their supporters happy is to deliver the shield trophy after failing to lift the league title since 1998; keeping in mind that representing the country in continental assignment is a major highlight in their careers.

Leopards won the Shield crown (previously GOtv Shield) for the 10th time last year after sinking Kariobangi Sharks 2-0 at Kasarani, but the 13th-time Kenyan champions have a date with Sofapaka in the semi-finals, before proceeding.

Sofapaka is a strong side; but Ingwe must use all means to beat them and procced to the final and win the trophy in the normal play; since the boys have not been clinical in executing spot kicks in recent knock-out encounters.

As we plan to finish the league in a respectful position and start preparing to win next year’s title, our players to their bit by realising what the club means for the fans; by accepting to die with their boots on for the sake of the team.

Ingwe, currently third in the league from 29 matches, started this season on a high note but our common habit of firing coaches was our undoing; only to start registering positive results on the pitch when it was too late!

We experienced regular changes in the technical bench with six coaches coming. Stewart Hall departed, the team saw Dorin Marin, Tom Juma, Robert Matano and Dennis Kitambi briefly take charge before Rodolf Zapata was appointed early in April this year.

We must make sure most of the players in the club are retained for the team to be better come next year, after they have gelled well.

After Zapata took over, the players are coming up really fast, and next year they should go for it (league title). The coach only needs to add a few players, then it should be exceptional talent!

Ingwe can do better that K’Ogalo who allowed Rayon Sports to beat them at Kasarani, a results that hounded them until they were eventually knocked out in group stages by USM Alger of Algeria.

After we lost to Fosa Juniors of Madagascar in the first round last year, Leopards will have another chance to prove their critics wrong by going past the quarter-final stage next year.

Ingwe players have proved their worth in recent matches under Zapata, who should be given more time to handle the boys.

For a very long time, Ingwe fans have remained speechless in disbelief as the team continues registering mixed results. But I see time coming when our critics will be silenced.

Ingwe players have started proving their worth, a fact that is likely to see them start attracting lucrative broadcasting revenues as fans too get value for their money.

In the recent matches, however, fans have been given not only hope, but a real boost. The players commitment is also a timely reminder to the fans that wearing that beautiful blue and white jersey is worth more than money.

Many fans are now hopeful, perhaps even quietly confident, that Ingwe players will remain focused throughout the season and start on a high note next year.

However, Ingwe has a strong squad capable of springing surprises, Zapata who so far has a perfect run of matches, must tighten his defence and rectify errors as we look forward to maintaining the good run.