17 April 2018

Kenya: Stuttering AFC Leopards Fall Behind in League Race

AFC Leopards enjoyed four uninterrupted wins in the Kenyan Premier League last month. However, in their last three games, the big cats have performed dismally and are in real danger of falling off the top five pending this weekend's match against Bandari in Mombasa.

Two points from three matches is how Ingwe have followed up a five-match winning streak and worse, they have conceded 14 goals in six games as a sign of a leaking defence that requires quick fixing.

Last weekend, the team played perfectly and dominated their match against Zoo Kericho, only to settle for a 2-2 draw and stretch their winless streak to three games.

Fans who turned up to watch the team against Zoo last weekend in Machakos were left baying for goalkeeper Jairus Adira's blood, as he and defenders Dennis Sikhayi, Robinson Kamura, Mike Kibwage and Duncan Otieno let in two avoidable goals during the game.

The first goal Ingwe conceded was when Nicholas Kipkurui got past his markers and raced home before shooting past Ingwe custodian Jairus Adira, who slumped to his knees thereafter and banged at the ground angrily in protest of his defenders' ineptitude.

The second was an even more elaborate defensive mistake, as Adira stepped out of his line two seconds too early and was left to watch as Johnston Ligare's nodded home from a free kick.

Ingwe coach Dennis Kitambi, who swung to the helm of the club's technical bench last month following the sacking of Robert Matano, tried to shield his player from the criticism at the post-match briefing, but there was no absolving his team's defensive frailties.

"We should also learn to defend the balls especially the aerial ones. A defender needs courage to stop them and that is what we missed. It was a great match, but we did not get the result that we wanted," Kitambi said.

Well, Kitambi tendered his resignation from the club last week and has only two weeks before leaving the club to join Stewart Hall in Bangladesh, and fans at the club will hope that the incoming coach will bring along some answers to the team's inconsistency over the years.

Ingwe will remain in third place on the KPL table, five points adrift of table leaders Mathare United, who are also dealing with problems of their own after losing two consecutive matches.

The slum boys went down 2-1 to Posta Rangers last weekend, a result that could have seen them lose the league's top spot but they didn't since their closest challengers Gor Mahia were exempted from the weekend action.

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