Zapata’s injury ravaged Leopards aim claws on free-falling Thika


Zapata's injury ravaged Leopards aim claws on free-falling Thika
AFC Leopards SC players line-up against KCCA FC during their Friendly match at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on January 24, 2018. AFC Leopards SC won 2-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha.

In Summary

  • AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata says he is working on a winning formula for ‘the future’ as they gear up for their weekend showdown with bottom placed Thika United.
  • Ahead of the clash, the Argentine reckons that tackling the John Njogu coached side, languishing at the tail end of the log after a dismal run, will be no easy task.
  •  Thika United sit bottom on 20 points after losing 3-1 to Wazito last weekend to further diminish any hopes of preserving their top-tier status.

AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata says he is working on a winning formula for ‘the future’ as they gear up for their weekend showdown with bottom placed Thika United.

Ahead of the clash, the Argentine reckons that tackling  the John Njogu coached side, languishing at the tail end of the log after a dismal run, will be no easy task.

Despite the difficulty they are poised to face in their hunt for the three points, Zapata has put his foot down noting that the Saturday match is a ‘ must win’.

Zapata is also scratching his head as injuries have ravaged his squad. Dennis Sikhayi, Robinson Kamura, Abdalla Salim, and Moses Mburu -–   have been ruled out while Whyvonne Isuza is banned.

“We have a tough game against Thika tomorrow(Saturday). I will be missing up to five of my key players which mean I will have to make changes especially in the defence. However the rest of the squad is well prepared and ready to do the job,” he noted.

“We will only win if we play good football because then you have more chances to win so we must impose that throughout the match,” he added.

Leopards are third on the 18-team league table on 45 points, 20 behind run-away leaders Gor Mahia and only trailing an in-form Bandari with three points who have played a game more.

Thika United sit bottom on 20 points after losing 3-1 to Wazito last weekend to further diminish any hopes of preserving their top-tier status.

AFC Leopards SC coach Rodolfo Zapata instructs his charges during their Kenyan Premier League match against Sofapaka FC at the Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on June 13, 2018. AFC Leopards SC won 1-0. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha.

Zapata will however not state clearly his end of season target but insists he is building a team for ‘the future’.

Said Zapata: “I have the best young players locally. I am building this team for the future so we have to remain patient with the players’ developmental process. I want to transmit my winning attitude to them because I believe my boys can do it. We are taking it one game at a time,” added Zapata

Meanwhile, in other matches lined-up for Saturday, Mathare United who have blown hot and cold this term will host Nakumatt in an early kick off at Camp Toyoyo grounds while Nzoia Sugar will test the resolve of Sopfapaka who sit fourth on 43 points.

The Batoto ba Mungu, title winners in 2009,   could go third in the event they win their match while Leopards fail to reap maximum points.

Champions Gor Mahia will however not be engaged in the weekend league action as they have a tough Caf-Confederation fixture against Rayon Sports of Rwandaon Sunday.

Weekend Fixtures

Saturday

Mathare United vs Nakumatt – 11:00 am – Camp Toyoyo

AFC Leopards vs Thika United – 3:00 pm – Thika Stadium

Nzoia Sugar vs Sofapaka – 3:00 pm – Sudi Stadium

Sunday

Kariobangi Sharks vs Sony Sugar – 11:00 am – Camp Toyoyo

Posta Rangers vs Ulinzi Stars – 3:00 pm – Bukhungu

Tusker FC vs Zoo Kericho – 3:00 pm – Ruaraka

Vihiga United vs Kakamega Homeboyz – 3:00 pm – Mumias Complex

 

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