Tag Archives: AFC Leopards

EASTER MONDAY RUINED FOR AFC LEOPARDS

The Kenyan Premier League continues to heat up with two round 8 matches being played on Easter Monday. Wazito FC was playing against Zoo FC, while Tusker FC vs AFC Leopards. The latter one was the main event, and the result was a shock for me. Watching the game, I could not believe this was Ingwe losing to Tusker (you can catch my comments about the game on youtube)

I went into the game believing that the Leopards had this game in the bag! Boy, was I wrong! However, it was still entertaining to watch Tusker try to redeem themselves from their dismal form this season. Going into the match, Tusker was at No 14, and I swear, I have never watched a season where the Breweries team has performed so poorly. Luckily, they won this game and were able to go up the table a few spots.

So, what exactly went wrong for the Leopards on this beautiful Easter Monday?

For starters, I would say Andika (their goalkeeper) was not in his best form, and that had catastrophic effects for the rest of the game. The last time we saw Andika play was during the second leg of the CAF Confederations Cup where Ingwe was unable to beat the Fosa Juniors. Consequently, they missed their opportunity to proceed in the continental tournament, and Andika (as well as other teammates) received a lot of criticism (you can catch my views on this game here).

Fast forward to this current game, and he is making rookie mistakes that cost his team the match. He misjudged a backpass from one of his cohorts (Kibwage), only for Timothy Otieno to come lurching forward, block that attempt, and see the ball going into the net. There was nothing Andika could do to stop it. AFC went down 1 goal thanks to Otieno’s initiative and Andika’s lackluster attempt at clearing the ball. This was in the opening minutes of the first half.

When the clock hit the 30-minute mark, Andika makes another blunder that sees his team going down another goal. He intentionally sweeps Otieno off his feet, without even attempting to make contact with the ball. Result: Andika is shown a red card and a penalty is awarded to Tusker. Now, AFC is down two goals to Tusker within the first thirty minutes of the game!

Other than that, AFC’s defensive prowess was literally unheard of the entire match. Their ineptitude to deal with the likes of Otieno and Wahome is what put their goalkeeper in trouble in the first place, as well as enable both of these players to score a brace each for their team. For instance, they were unable to mark the dangerous Wahome effectively when he was near the goal, which resulted in his two goals. In the case of the Otieno goals, an improperly timed and weak backpass from the defender (Kibwage for the first instance; Kamura for the second) was to blame.

There were also several missed chances from both sides but most notably from the AFC camp. All their frantic attempts were for naught until Isuza caught a lucky break and was able to whizz one past David Okello. Clinical finishes from the other Ingwe strikers would have ensured that they won the game or at least managed a draw, but alas, they ended up throwing those chances away.

Final result: Tusker 4 Leopards 2.

 

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INGWE LET IT SLIP- WHO’S TO BLAME FOR DROPPING THE BALL THIS TIME?

The CAF Confederation Cup campaign began on a slow note for Kenya with Fosa Juniors managing a draw with AFC Leopards last Sunday. It was imperative for the Kenyan team to win the game in order for Kenya to have a good chance at advancing in the competition, and fan support was essential in boosting the players’ morale on the D-day.

There was so much hype about the game with Ingwe’s head coach pleading with fans to throng the Bukhungu stadium earlier last week. Calls for fans to attend the game were also made by former AFC Leopards’ players such as Joseph Masiga and Ingwe chairman, Dan Mule.

The emotional appeal worked with an impressive turnout of fans at the legendary Bukhungu stadium. In addition, the County Governor of Kakamega, Wycliffe Oparanya, vowed to foot all of the bills of the Leopards during their stay in Kakamega as they prepared for the first leg of the preliminary round of the CAF Confederation Cup.

And then the D-day came! To our dismay, the Leopards could not get the job done with the highly anticipated game ending in a 1-1 draw. The game had started brightly enough with Ingwe‘s goal coming early in the game as Yusuf Mainge scored in the 3rd minute for the home team. But, even before the 20th minute of the game, Fosa Juniors had already equalized. The rest of the game must have been difficult for the fans in attendance to watch as Ingwe players struggled to keep up with the visitors throughout the game.

Please remember that before the game, the Fosa Juniors’ coach had described AFC Leopards as highly disorganized, and to our surprise, Ingwe seemed determined to prove him right throughout the match. Now fans are furious, and understandably so, owing to the fact that this game was a must-win if we had any hopes of bagging the continental championship.

There have been several apologies issued by the team including sentimental messages issued by both the team’s keeper trainer and Ingwe’s coach. And true to Kenyan form, the blame game has begun. Who is to blame for the woeful display of Ingwe at Bukhungu?

Well, many die-hard Ingwe fans believe that the blame for Sunday’s off the mark performance lies squarely on the feet of Robert Matano, the current coach of AFC Leopards. Matano has maintained that he is in charge of recruiting players, but his choices so far have not worked so well according to several fans across social media. Some have even gone so far as calling some of the pre-season signings as utterly bogus!

Also on the players, many fans have voiced their frustration at having different starting lineups at every game. The lack of an almost regular Starting XI reduces the chemistry and familiarity amongst the players. This makes it extremely difficult for the players to gel well with each other, and lack of coordination in the team is the only expected result here.

There are also some people who firmly believe that the problem is not with the choice of players recruited, fielding, or the gelling of the members of the first team. This camp of AFC fans opines that there is lack of a tactical approach when designing game strategies. Going by the disorganization demonstrated by our players on Sunday, this theory holds a lot of water for me.

The National Executive Committee, the management of AFC Leopards, also came under fire for the poor results and the disorganization that seems rampant across the entire team.

Whoever is to blame, the fact remains that that away goal that Fosa Juniors managed to secure will cost Ingwe greatly in the second leg. Unfortunately, that is the least of our worries for the Leopards. The team has demonstrated fielding issues, problems with players connecting with each other, performance problems, lack of technical strategies, and lack of coordination across all levels of the team. If Ingwe has any hope of clinching this title then these issues have to be addressed pronto before the return leg in Madagascar.

What did you think about Ingwe’s performance against the Juniors? With all these recurrent problems in the team, do you think the Leopards have a chance to beat Fosa Juniors in the return leg?

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WE NEED A KADENGE MOVIE LIKE YESTERDAY!!

Maragoli United. Abaluya United. Two legendary football clubs that were part and parcel of the exciting, politically tumultuous, football scene in a recently-independent Kenya. Honestly, I had never heard of Maragoli United until a few days ago, but back then, it and Abaluya United, among others were the ish! They were among the first official Kenyan football clubs and from these two clubs, a hero, no, a legend, emerged!

It was the 60s’ and football was the most popular sport in the country (definitely still is). Nairobi was the epicenter of the football scene with many of the football teams that were part of the first Kenyan championship based in the city. The football clubs in Nairobi back then were extremely tribal, and in most instances, all the players in a club would be from the same ethnic community (go here if you want more information on how ethnicity played a part in early Kenyan football)

 

Back then, Kenya was just an infant nation trying to find its place in this new big world and trying even desperately harder (and failing miserably) to unshackle itself from the reins of colonialism. Back then, our economy was thriving, with an average GDP of 6.6% p.a., and we had the opportunity to become one of the wealthiest nations in the continent.

One name stood out during this era, a name that has become engraved in our history books. A name that is still heard today when we talk about true Kenyan legends. A name that had Kenyans speaking in one tongue every time he kicked the ball, scored a goal or dribbled past a defender.

This is a man who almost single-handedly catapulted our nation to football dominance in the region from the very first international game he played.We associate this name with the beauty that can be Kenyan football, or Kenyan anything if we could just put our mind to it and love our nation.

Who am I rambling on about you ask? Joe Kadenge, baby!! Yes, he of the ‘kadengenampiraaaaaaaa….kadengenampiraaaaaaa’ fame. The man who was instrumental in the early successes and exploits of AFC Leopards (formerly Abaluya United) back then making it into one of the most successful Kenyan football clubs of all time. In addition, he was our powerhouse when it came to our participation in regional competitions such as the Gossage Cup and the East and Central African Senior Challenge Cup, which were the precursors to the CECAFA Cup.

He burst into the limelight when he scored the fastest goal in Kenya Premier League history while at Maragoli United. He has gone on to win numerous other accolades throughout his career and even after retiring from the beautiful game.

Did you know that the 1958 Gossage Cup was unofficially referred to as the ‘Kadenge Tournament’ owing to the massive popularity, skills, drive, and passion of the Kenyan right winger? Well, I thought you should know!! In the final match of the cup, his goal, and later his assist helped us win the 1958 Gossage Cup. Wow!!

This was just the beginning of a lustrous football career for Kadenge, as a player, and as the coach of our national team.

I am even getting goosebumps just writing about this man!! Now, can you imagine watching him play? Watching him move? Seeing his story, his battle, his wins, his tenacity, and the moments that made him, him? If eyewitness accounts and oral narratives are anything to go by, this man was pure magic on and off the field, and I wanna see it, I wanna live it!

He epitomizes everything we should strive to be, on and off the field. Kadenge is passionate, Kadenge is a patriot, he cared for something, and he helped it grow. Where would our football be, if the likes of Kadenge and other football greats did not exist? Where? We probably would not be a footballing nation at all.

We owe it to him, to all football legends of our nation, and to ourselves and to our children, to immortalize the contributions they made to our football. Sure, there is an autobiography here and there, but that is not enough! At least, I feel that that is not enough!

We need a movie, people! A movie based on his perspective of Kenya then, of football, of how tribalism affected the game then and now, the challenges he went through as a person, a player and as a coach, and how he feels the game has grown. Let’s be honest, many of us have never seen him play. But, what an honor, what a privilege it would be to travel back in time and see him score his first goal, or be in the stands as he takes away our breath with his out of this world dribbling skills, or watch him take Abaluya United from glory to glory. As fans, we need to feel connected to this icon and this part of our history, and I am convinced that a movie would do the trick.

He is a walking, breathing encyclopedia of not only our football history, but our national history as a whole, and we need to get his story now, first hand,  for our sake and for the sake of future generations.

Imagine inspiring a new, refreshed, enterprising, footballing generation where more Kadenges’ emerge. What a country that would be! I feel that is what we can get if we make a movie about the life of this footballing legend.

The idea is already out there, as depicted by the concept note developed by Black Arrow FC. I did not even know these guys existed until I stumbled on their page this week, but they are doing a really good job of wanting to tell Kadenge’s story. All these fellows need is partners to support the completion of the film. If you are out there and you feel compelled to help then please visit this page.

That being said, we are now at a conundrum! If a movie does happen, who is going to play Kadenge? Who do you have in mind?

Leave your comments below on who you feel should play Joe Kadenge if a movie was to be made about him. You can also tweet me with your ideal actor for the role on @gina_maha.

Let’s get cracking people, we have a movie to make!!

OF BAD BOYS AND EYEBROW RAISING TRANSFERS

Did you catch the Supercup derby last Sunday? Well, I did (on TV of course) and it was a hoot! It was right after church (where, btw, I am a Sunday School teacher), I had eaten, taken a nap, and I was more than ready for it. Down here, we call it the Mashemeji Derby, and every time these two teams meet, there’s bound to be fireworks for fans and players alike!

Can you believe these two teams have met 97 times, including last week’s match? Amazing!!

I was kind of jealous of the people who had made it to Afraha Stadium to watch the game. It felt like the teams and their fans were part of something familial and I was just an outsider looking in. This is perhaps one of the greatest and longest football feuds in our nation, and it sucks not feeling connected to the history of these two amazing teams!! 😦

Anyway, enough of the melodrama! Let me get right into it. It was a spectacular game with Gor looking stronger from the onset, in my point of view, and it was kind of disappointing that there weren’t as many goals as you would want in such an exciting clash! What did catch my attention, though, was the roughness of the game. This game was so intense and the referee had to make some tough calls throughout the game, including giving one ‘Gattuso’, a yellow card in like the first 15 minutes of the encounter.

I was struck by how aggressive he could be, but hey, he’s a midfielder, it’s bound to happen. What caught me off-guard is what the commentators said once he was shown the yellow. Their comments went along the lines of, ‘oh, this is normal, he’ll probably end up with a red, most probably won’t last the entire game’…(they were speaking in Swahili by the way just in case you were wondering). Shots fired!!

Gattuso is a skilled midfielder, with a stellar football career that has spanned more than five years. Having played for Gor Mahia, Sofapaka, and Tusker FC in the past, he has gained a reputation for being combative (in and out of the field) and an individual who is not squeamish about putting his body on the line in order to get the much-needed results for his team. He gets the job done……when, and if, he decides to show up.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bad boy as much as the next girl, and his antiques over the years, especially while he was in Gor, were definitely newsworthy. From arriving late for training, missing training sessions, going missing completely from training camps, to numerous fines, and fights, and social media rants, this midfielder has earned a place on the list of  Kenyan football bad-asses!!

Which is why I was sort of surprised to hear about his recent transfer to ‘The Den’, Gor Mahia’s main rival. I mean, doesn’t AFC Leopards have enough problems to deal with at the moment without having to add a temperamental, headstrong bad boy with a penchant for flouting team rules on to its worry list? And, doesn’t the coach know that bad boys equal heartbreaks? Take it from me, I am a girl, I know these things!

The Leopards could possibly be on the brink of financial collapse and the last thing the team needs is indiscipline or even a hint of it amongst its ranks. Otherwise, their entire 2018 campaign is in jeopardy.

But, who knows, Gattuso could be exactly what they need right now in these dark financial times. Drama, passion, action, and heat follow this man wherever he goes and he could be a critical ingredient to one of their most fierce cup challenges yet. This could be the home he has been looking for, and with proper management, Ingwe could be looking at their next midfield talisman. Only time will tell!!

Good luck to both team and player!