Sunday, 16 September 2012

AFC Leopards Coach insists all is not lost

By Fred Maingi
Jan Koops

 AFC Leopards coach Jan Koops has reiterated that the Tusker Premier
League(TPL) title is wide open and made it clear  they must beat their
arch rivals Gor Mahia next weekend to bounce back to the race.
  He said losing  is part of the game adding that Western Stima has
always been a tough team to beat both home  and away. ‘Everybody saw
how they stretched Gor Mahia at the City Stadium during a FKF Cup
clash.They went to penalty shoot-outs where Gor were just lucky to
escape after their opponents lost a spot kick.I know today’s result
was a bitter blow to our fans but I still believe we have a great
chance since other teams are losing and sharing points’ said Koops
after his side lost 2-1 to Western Stima in Nakuru.
     Wesley Kemboi netted a brace in the first half to spoil Leopards
winning party.The winners also pocketed a whooping Kshs.441, 000
realised from the gate collection.
 After the tension packed match, a section of agitated AFC Leopards
fans turned chaotic and started pelting stones at the police who were
trying to prevent them from crossing the perimeter fence onto the
One of the projectiles hit a senior police officer who had to be
whisked off to an ambulance for medical attention. In retaliation,
Police threw a teargas canister that did not work as expected then
called for reinforcement to disperse the unruly crowd .Former AFC
treasurer Patrick Ngaira was also beaten up by the fans and had to be
rushed to the hospital.
As police began to take control of the situation both team buses had
to be parked at the center of the pitch from where the players and the
technical bench boarded.
Mike Barasa pulled one back in the 77th minute with a solo effort that
beat Stima custodian Ben Mandela to bring some joy to the many Ingwe
faithfuls at Afraha.
   AFC Leopards enjoyed a good spell at the one hour mark but Allan
Wanga misfired when two good chances fell his way.
Alloyce Mangi would have made it 3-0 after a Jonas Nahimana blunder
but he misplaced his shot. In the 76th minute, Mangi had another
chance but couldn’t keep his shot on target.
A last minute foul on Allan Wanga won AFC a free kick that Martin
Imbalambala shot straight at Mandela’s gloves.
The loss leaves AFC Leopards just two points above Gor Mahia who they
meet in a must watch top of the bill derby next weekend at Kasarani.
Elsewhere,,Uganda’s Bruno Sserunkuma’s late equalizer saved  from the
jaws of defeat with a 1-1 draw with Mathare United  in another TPL tie
staged at  the Hope Centre on Saturday afternoon.
James Mwangi opened the scoring for the former champions in the 55th
minute and the slum boys looked comfortable to bag maximum points
until the Ugandan broke their hearts with quarter of an hour to go to
make it 1-1.
The game came to light in the second half after a barren first half
that had both sides failing to hit the back of the net. Mathare wasted
the most chances.
After the match, City stars head coach Gideon Ochieng lamented the
denied clear penalties which could have won the match for his side.
“We had three clear penalty appeals which should have easily won the
match for us. Our intent was quite clear to attack from the word go. I
am happy with my side, as they played very well.” He said.
“Getting a point is better than something. It is very certain if we
play like we did today we can easily win all our remaining fixtures.”
He said.
Thika United boosted their chances of clinching the 2012 Tusker
Premier League title with a deserved 4-0 victory over  relegation
threatened Rangers FC at the Thika Municipal Stadium on Saturday.
After a barren first half, the goals began to rain. Moses Arita was
the first for find the net then Wycliffe  Opondo doubled the advantage
in the 68th minute.Ken Otieno and Freeman  Murbah added a goal each to
make it  4-0.
The win leaves Thika United level with Tusker on 42 points, three
points below  leaders AFC Leopards while Rangers are ripe candidates
for relegation following their weekends humiliation in Thika.

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