AFC Leopards coach Stewart Hall has completed his recruitment for the new season with the signing of 10 players.
The 10 are: Duncan Otieno (from Posta Rangers), Robinson Kamura (Mathare United), Whyvonne Isuza (Mathare United), Salim Abdallah (Posta Rangers), Samwel Ndung’u (Muhoroni Youth), Dennis Sikhayi (Western Stima), Gabriel Andika (Western Stima), Marcus Abwao (Nairobi Stima), Michael Kibwage Wanyika (Kakamega Homeboyz) and Ibrahim Mao (Sofapaka).
Leopards have also promoted Vincent Oburu, Austine Odhiambo and Jackson ‘Pogba’ Juma from the Ingwe junior team.
Also in the Leopards roster is Ghanaian striker Gilbert Fiamenyo, who was acquired in June, but whose contract wasn’t validated until this year.
This is the umpteenth time that Leopards are overhauling their team as they look to mount yet another challenge for the league title that they last held in 1998.
Under English coach Hall, the Leopards’ technical bench has assistant Dennis Kitambi from Tanzania, former KCB RC and Kenya Lionesses rugby fitness trainer Michael Shamiah, goalkeeping trainer Alain Mushegera formerly of TP Mazembe and former club striker Tony Lidonde as team manager.
Having fallen way below expectation in the last few years, Ingwe have opted to make less ambitious targets as opposed to their familiar proclamations of going for nothing less than the league title.
Club chairman Dan Mule told kpl.co.ke that the team’s primary ambition for now was to have a good start to the 2017 season.
“The preseason training has already began and that is what we are focusing on now. All the new signings have reported to training. Once we are off to a good start we can find ways of maintaining a good run but a poor start will only throw the club into unnecessary panic and we don’t want that. We want to do things differently this year,” he said.
A major setback for the 13-time champions’ early objective, however, is the absence of speedy winger Alfred Wekesa. He is recovering from surgery that was done to repair an injured knee.
This means that the promising Wekesa will miss at least the first three months of the 2017 league season, although Hall does have enough options in the attacking department in the shapes of Fiamenyo, Paul Kiongera, Clifton Miheso, Andrew Tolowa and Allan Katerrega.