ASHIHUNDU: Probe these middlemen at AFC Leopards - Daily Nation

Probe these middlemen at AFC Leopards

Monday January 7 2019

AFC Leopards’ Aziz Okaka (right) vies for the ball with Cliff Kasuti of Sofapaka FC during their Sportpesa Premier League match at Kenya Stadium, Machakos. The teams drew 2-2. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

AFC Leopards’ Aziz Okaka (right) vies for the ball with Cliff Kasuti of Sofapaka FC during their Sportpesa Premier League match at Kenya Stadium, Machakos. The teams drew 2-2. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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Until we beat Posta Rangers 2-0, it had taken AFC Leopards 15 competitive matches to register a win in the Kenyan Premier League, the goals coming from spot kicks.

Our strikers aren’t ‘sick for goal’ since before Sunday’s fixture against Nzoia Sugar, we had scored only three goals in the league from open play - against Sofapaka and Kariobangi Sharks.

The goals were scored by midfielders Marvin Nabwire Omondi and Aziz Okaka and one by a defender, Robinson Kamura.

In the process, we conceded six goals from open play, and this raises a big question about fielding.

For the first past three years, defence has been our main undoing, allowing nondescript teams like Homeboyz, Western Stima, Kariobangi Sharks and Bandari to make AFC Leopards their ‘customers’ or their ‘donors’.

This brings us to a fundamental question of recruitment of our playing unit and the technical bench. Our strikers are poor in challenging defenders in one-on-one situations. They must work on dribbling around defenders and throwing moves at full speed.

Feeling comfortable on both legs greatly increases the options available for a player, as good defenders will punish strikers who only have one side of the field to use.

High turnover of coaches

Ingwe has one of the highest turn-over of players in KPL. Leopards have had scores of West African imports who come in injured, play one match then remain on the bench for rest of the season.

For example, last year we had the likes of Henry Uche, Eric Bekoe, and Prince Arkoh who did completely nothing for the team, yet we understand that a number of officials hired them on an agreement that they would share with them their signing free!

This also applies to local players who don’t come to AFC Leopards because they are good, but because they are willing to part with their signing fee. That means, there is no quality in the team. Even worse, the same officials are alleged to be forcing the technical bench to field their ‘customers’.

What we are seeing is not talented players but joggers who are forced to play because their ‘god fathers’ want to justify their place in the team. When coach Nicola Kavazovic was leaving the club, he alluded to serious problem in team selection occasioned by the said ‘god fathers’.

Leopards recruited some players last season, but we have not seen them on the pitch. They also did not leave in the transfer window! How do they justify their presence in the team? It is telling that the current National Executive Committee has presided over the highest turnover of coaches since the club’s inception in 1964.

In the first three years of its tenure, the current committee has hired and sacked eight coaches, two of them (Dorian Marin and Kavazovic) serving for less than two months.

There is no stability in he team, just a defeatist mentality. That is why it has taken Ingwe 15 matches to register a lucky win. Under the current officials, the team has never finished above seventh place in the league.

As we go into elections in six months, the Ingwe fraternity must elect people who understand football and who have Ingwe at heart. As it is, the team now has no culture.

It is not surprising, that some fans would rather the team is relegated so that we come from the grassroots more organised and focused.

This is because a team in lower division cannot attract greedy leaders. But who can wish that Ingwe be relegated! Some minds just wonder in that direction because of the frustration Ingwe followers feel.

Ingwe requires a strong financial base, it cannot forever survive on handouts from politicians and well -wishers.

Ingwe’s fan base, if motivated to attend matches, can generate revenue to finance the team through gate collections.

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