Sorry Leopards reaping what they have sowed

Monday June 19 2017

AFC Leopards players celebrate at the end of their Sport Pesa Premier League match against Nzoia Sugar at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on April 1, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

AFC Leopards players celebrate at the end of their Sport Pesa Premier League match against Nzoia Sugar at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos on April 1, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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Congratulations to AFC Leopards players on reaching the inaugural SportPesa Super Cup.

But the disappointing 3-0 defeat to arch rivals Gor Mahia in the final in Dar es Salaam on June 11 has hit true Ingwe fans hard, given that the loss came just a few weeks after a similar beating at the hands of our noisy neighbours in Nairobi.

How can Leopards lose to Gor Mahia three times in a row, and without even scoring a goal? Ingwe players have often put up a brave fight during matches I have attended and I don’t remember the team playing so badly in a Mashemeji derby like they did in the previous two meetings.

A fan fed up with Ingwe’s lack of trophies suggested that the research team falling under the organising secretary’s docket call in this special people to “clean” the “ill spirit” covering the club.

Leopards have not won the league title since 1998 and Gor has been taking it easy because we are not competitive enough.

The fan, who was worried about his beloved team, also claims that Gor Mahia’s continued dominance over Ingwe is caused by the current Ingwe officials who have ignored the obvious.

In Dar, the 13-time league champions behaved like they were scared of K’Ogalo.

Ingwe completely lost it in the second half as the players displayed no physical power.

Mahia started scoring easy gaols as Ingwe started behaving like fans on the pitch.

I totally agree with coach Dorian Marin when he charges half of the players were just fans on the pitch against K’Ogalo.

The fans were eager for revenge reckoning the Super Cup final was the best chance to gain revenge on the 0-3 league mauling.

It was also a chance to get back at Gor for two past losses on foreign soil suffered at the hands of those braggarts some years back.

Ingwe too lost an opportunity to play English Premier League side Everton next month in Dar es Salaam, passing on a huge opportunity to market their players.

But as my friend Ayub Barasa puts it, you cannot be off loading three quarters of  your dependable players and expect instant results.

We must agree that Ingwe were below par for the second time in a row.

Ingwe’s current squad is a substandard one compared to Gor Mahia’s or any of the other league title contenders, Tusker being one of them.

After beating Tanzanian’s Singida United and Dar giants Young Africans, Leopards simply capitulated against Gor.

Ingwe qualified for the final after winning both matches through post-match penalties, but Gor Mahia had prevailed against Jang’ombe and Nakuru All Stars with identical 2-0 score lines.

While Gor Mahia are working hard to renew contracts of their regulars, Leopards are asking captain Mang’oli to leave after his deal expires because they cannot afford to give him Sh500,000 to continue playing for Ingwe.

It is claimed that some of the current players were not selected by the previous coach John Stewart Hall, but some officials did it for him instead. The office should kindly let the coach chose his squad without interference.

Fifteen scouts who were dismissed and replaced immediately before the season started are now demanding what they claim is their dues.

They claim the team management owes the Sh800,000 in allowances.

For Leopards to start attracting their supporters again, they must start winning matches. But it won’t be that simple.