Mang’oli: AFC Leopards needed us more

Benard Mangoli (L) of AFC Leopards SC shields ball from Fredrick Shimonyo of Western Stima ...
Benard Mangoli (L) of AFC Leopards SC shields ball from Fredrick Shimonyo of Western Stima FC during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Nyayo National stadium on September 24, 2016. Western Stima FC won 1-0 Photo/Tabitha Otwori/

AFC Leopards Captain, Bernard Mang’oli, says he hopes Harambee Stars Head Coach Stanley Okumbi will understand his decision to turn down an ‘honourable’ call-up to the national team together with teammate, Bruno Kiyai.

Mang’oli told Citizen Digital on Tuesday that their decision was in the best interest of their club, whose shocking wobbles toward the end of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season have seen them drop to within just two places above the relegation zone.

“It is every player’s dream to get the chance to wear the national colours but with our club’s current situation, we need to stay together and keep our focus on how best we can finish the season on a high.

“Okumbi knows exactly what we’re going through as a club and I don’t think he will blame anyone for what happened. Every player and every member of the technical bench is working very hard to find out where we went wrong and find solutions,” Mang’oli stated.

On his part, Kiyai said he was unlucky that his maiden call-up came at a time when his club needed his presence more.

“It was a tough decision to make and hopefully I can be recalled in future. We need to win at least three matches to be completely safe this season,” lamented the youngster who attracted special praise from Okumbi with the tactician terming him ‘a talent to watch’.

Ingwe Team Manager, Joseph Milimu, revealed that the club wrote an official request to Okumbi requesting to have their stars remain at the Den as they prepare to face Ulinzi Stars in their upcoming KPL fixture.

“We have to put our house in order. We asked Okumbi how important the two players were in his plans against Congo because it would have been pointless if they travelled and never got the chance to play after all.

“When we are through with Ulinzi Stars then we will let go of the players,” Milimu underscored.

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Story By Godfrey Ashiali
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