Reloading Leopards out to knock Gor off their perch

Tusker FC’s Shaffique Batambuze (right) vies for the ball against Paul Kiongera of AFC ...
Tusker FC’s Shaffique Batambuze (right) vies for the ball against Paul Kiongera of AFC Leopards during their Kenyan Premier League clash at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on November 6, 2015. Batambuze scored the winner in a 1-0 victory to hand his team the 2016 title. PHOTO/

AFC Leopards are out to knock arch-rivals Gor Mahia off their lofty perch as the most successful team in the history of the domestic top flight starting this season.

Ingwe fired a warning to their shemeji (in-laws) of their intent to claw back the deficit in the number of league titles won (15 against 13) as the Den beefs up its squad to hunt for honours in 2017.

Leopards Chief Executive Officer Ronald Namai announced plans are in place to ensure that Ingwe wins a first league title since 1998 including beefing up the playing unit.

Ghanaian striker Gilbert Fiamenyo is expected to jet into the country on Wednesday from Hearts of Oak ready to join Briton Stewart Hall’s revolution at the Den.

Fiamenyo was signed last August but could not be cleared in good time to feature for Leopards as they slumped to a nightmare 13th finish in the 2016 Kenyan Premier League.

“It pains to be behind Gor in the league trophies we have in the cabinet and so I want to assure fans that this year will be ours since we have best players with the best technical bench that is eager to perform.

“We want to have overtaken them as the most successful club in Kenya in three years,” Namai charged.

Leopards have been on the prowl in the January transfer window and have acquired the services of Robinson Kamora (Mathare United), Abdalla Shitu (Posta Rangers), Dennis Shikhaya (Western Stima), Mike Wanyika (Kakamega Homeboyz) and Ibrahim Mao (Sofapaka).

Others are midfielder Duncan Otieno (Posta Rangers) as well as striker Vincent Ouma and Austin Odhiambo among others from their academy.

“We will be unveiling our full squad tomorrow (Wednesday) and we will continue to train in Nairobi before we head to either Mumias or Eldoret towards the end of this month,” Namai added.

Leopards resumed training at Marist University-Karen in Nairobi last week under Hall who is being assisted by former Azam SC assistant coach Dennis Kitambi from Tanzania .

The club’s technical bench has been given two-year contracts which will keep them up to the end of 2018, a move that deviates from the past where the club has been hiring and firing its managers based on results.

Ingwe have released Malian Moussa Sissoko, custodian Lucus Indeche, John Ndirangu, Edwin Wafula, Jackson Saleh, Yusuf Suf and Yusuf Juma while top striker Kepha Aswani surviving the axe despite being suspended for indiscipline towards the end of last.

So far, Ian Otieno remains the top custodian with Ingwe still in talks with Western Stima to sign keeper Gabriel Andika with Edwin Mukolwe the designated third choice.

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Story By Godfrey Ashiali
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