Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Web Dreams

A few days ago, AFC Leopards fans woke up to the news that there was a new official website for the club. The link was posted on the tickets for the Leopards match against KCB at the City Stadium.

Then followed a flurry of postings on the two websites afcleopards.net and allafcleopards.com disparaging each other in the battle of the Official Website.

The two links to the stories can be retrieved here and here

So what is really going on?

Ingwe Fan retraces the problem by giving a historical perspective to the whole issue.

The first website that was ever created to deal with Leopards matters was a page on Kenya Page some time in the year 2000.

It wasn't the official website but being the first web page that had the history of Leopards, it was a useful historical portal for fans of the stories team.

In 2002, fans of the team came up with a new website that had many more details of the team. This is arguably the fist website of the club and used the address afcleopards.com

The launch ceremony was attended by Jack Makhanu, the Secretary General of the team. Amongst its accomplishments, the website was the first in the country to carry out a minute by minute update of events at a match featuring a Kenyan club when the match against Al Mourada of Sudan was webcast live on the website.

Th website was then handed over to the new Secretary General of Leopards Steven Mutoro who had taken over from Makhanu when he requested through an e-mail for the website which was converted to the first official website of the team. No money changed hands as the website was handed over by the fans to the team.

Unsurprisingly, the club having taken over the maintenance of the website then failed to renew the domain name and the same was taken by cyber squatters.

The team then went without a website until another Ingwe Fan of the team decided to register a new domain name afcleopards.net after unsuccessfully trying to buy the afcleopards.com domain. This happened in the year 2006.

Having secured the domain, the fan turned it over to the team in 2008 when a new office had taken over at the team. Again, no money changed hands as the website was handed over. The new web administrators were Ace Solutions.

The website took off and updates were made to the site by the the Marketing Manager of the team. The website also became featured in the first team jerseys that were unveiled by Alex Ole Magelo in 2008.

When Magelo left office, the website was not amongst the properties o the club that were handed over to the incoming Chair Julius Ochiel. It was then reported that instead, there had been attempts to sell the website to the club.

In all fairness, the website had grown into a brand and was perhaps probably worth more than the amount requested. Fans across the country spotted the Leopards replica jerseys that advertised the website. However, what also needed to be appreciated that the fan who had handed over the afcleopards.net had actually handed it over to the club and not to an individual. The footer on the website states: 'COPYRIGHT 2008. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. AFC LEOPARDS.' That is why the claim for money to change hands was quite strange. 

Secondly, the content of the website afcleopards.net is largely the same as that was contained on the afcleopards.com domain. The History page is the same, the Honours page is the same as originally appearing on the afcleopards.com domain. A simple Google search of 'afc leopards moi golden cup' reveals the interesting connection with a document titled afcleopards.com but appearing under the assets of afcleopards.net.  

The only original content on afcleopards.net is the news items that some times have serious grammatical errors. Sometimes the website criticizes the players and coaches openly quite unlike an official website of the team.

Indications were also supposedly made to Ochiel that the website could be updated at a fee.

It appears that Ochiel deemed it cheaper to set up another website for the club instead. And sure enough, afcleopards.co.ke became the new official website of the team.

Ochiel also tried to popularise the website by having it appear on the back of the new replica jerseys of the team.

During this period, the afcleopards.net continued being in operation as an 'official website of the supporters' but only carried critical articles of the Ochiel regime.

When Ochiel left office, it appears he did not hand over the website though it is also not clear whether he was requested to do so. Instead, indications were made that with Magelo back in office, the official website had reverted back to afcleopards.net.

However, due to issues about the ownership of the website, one of the members of the Executive Committee decided to set up another official website allafcleopards.com

This precipitated the angry exchange between the two webmasters with each claiming to be the official website. Michezoafrika carried the announcement of the new website.

Meanwhile, the original afcleopards.com website had been bought by Mojja Sports associated with a Facebook Branch member Frank Maloba who is based in the US.This is perhaps he reason the domain could not be found and the allafcleopards.com domain was chosen by a section of the officials.

Whilst the dispute rages on and no clear position has been given by the Executive Committee, there is no shortage of Leopards news including this incisive blog. Fans have also set up the ingwefans.com website that also carries features on the club.

A Wikipedia page on the club also exists.

However, it is the confusion on the clubs official website that causes discomfort. The club needs an official website that belongs to the club. The Kenya Premier League website at the Clubs page still lists afcleopards.co.ke as the official website of the team!

Rivals Gor Mahia have different websites but the official website is clear. gormahia.co.ke is the officla website.

The club also appears on Kenya Page.

gormahia.net is also in existence.

gorfc.com was also formed but none of these websites claims to be the official website of the team.

Which leads us to say, "Will the real Leopards official website stand up!"

Matano Sacked

Reports circulating in the media indicate that the Leopards tactician has been fired by th Executive Committee of the team.

Supersport reports

by Fred Maingi 24 April 2011, 19:30

AFC Leopards sacked coach Robert Matano with immediate effect just hours after the team had lost 1-0 to Congo United in Mombasa. 

Club secretary Josphat Bukachi told SuperSport.com on Sunday evening that Matano had been sacked due to the team's poor performance in recent matches where Leopards had lost three of their last four matches, "'Our performances have been below our expectations and we have decided to try someone else and see what he can do".

Assistant coach Elliud Omukuyia will take over in the interim.

Club Chairman Alex Ole Magelo confirmed Matano's axing accusing him of bringing friction in the team. 'I'm told there was a go-slow by some players who were against Matano's style of coaching and his high handedness. In such a situation, you have to take action since the team was losing matches,” observed Magelo. 

He added that the club management read sinister motive after Matano travelled alone from Nairobi to Mombasa and yet there was special travelling arrangement for the entire team, " We can't continue losing. It appears Matano had his own preferred players since the entire club is disturbed by his tendency of benching our best defender Martin Imbalambala and yet he was not injured." 

"When Matano took over the team, he chased away almost the entire starting line-up. He has been working alone which I cant accept. We need unity, we need to work as a family and when it reaches a point where players don't want you, it means there is a problem,” averred Magelo. 

The chairman also raised issue with the changing of match officials in their match against Congo United at the 11th hour, "We will write a protest letter on Tuesday to KPL. We want to be told why the referee was changed in the last minute. My team was denied a clear penalty and we feel there may have been something sinister behind the whole exercise.” 

The Standard reports

"Yes he is gone," said AFC Leopards chairman Alex Ole Magelo confirming the sacking of coach Robert Osebe Matano after Ingwe’s 1-0 defeat to Congo United.

Asked what he thought of his sacking, Matano said: "They have made their decision. I respect it. I leave the technical bench with my head held high, but as you know once a leopard always a Leopard."

To some, the decision to fire him may be unexpected while to others the writing was on the wall after Leopards lost to Western Stima and KCB while the loss to minnows Congo United was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Asked why they decided to fire the man who calls himself a ‘lion’ (for according to him, he cannot be a hyena which runs away from problems), Mr ole Magelo said: "His fielding is not good. The team has not played to its potential because some players are left out when they should be playing."

He added: "Fans are on my neck. They want results and we had to make a decision which is: Matano’s time at AFC Leopards is over."

The irony of it is that Matano, then officially Ingwe Technical Director, elbowed out Belgian Robert Bollen after Tusker took AFC Leopards to the cleaners on match Day One of the KPL citing poor fielding.

Although his sacking mirrors the classic expression "in by the gun out by the gun", Matano maintains he did nothing wrong to warrant the boot.

"What if we had won? Leopards were denied an obvious penalty early in the game, which could have changed the complexion of the tie. The team created so many scoring opportunities yet they faile to convert them. I will always wish them well no matter what certain people think of me," Matano told FeverPitch.

If the writing was on the wall, then the first graffiti was painted on April 10 when after the 1-0 loss to KCB at the City Stadium despite putting in a decent display, and a section of fans chanted, "Matano Must Go" slogan.

Within seconds, another group of other fans chased away the chanting pockets.

A week later at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi City Stars dragged Ingwe along a leash for 90 minutes, but were beaten by two Hugo Nzangu Nzoka clinical goals, a result that was given respectability by John Amboko’s own goal in the 2-1 defeat.

Although Ingwe faithful go what they wanted — three points, they were unhappy with the pedestrian manner the team had played. One fan made his opinion known, which Matano took offence and had to be restrained by a cabal of Leopards security from a face-off.

Up came the trip to Mombasa on Friday and Leopards team bus left without him. The officials explained that the ‘lion’ would link up with the team later for he remained behind to see a doctor and that they would book him an air ticket if his health allowed.

As it were, the ‘lion’ followed the team to Mombasa via Mash Bus where he got the boot.

Nairobi Star reports

While Tusker press on in the KPL race, Leopards coach Matano is made to pay high price for loss to Congo Boys. It probably never crossed Gilbert Selebwa’s mind that his efforts to make an impressive start at his new job would result in someone else losing theirs.

Selebwa masterminded Congo United’s first Kenya Premier League win as they beat his former club AFC Leopards 1-0. The result saw current Leopards coach Robert Matano lose his job as a consequence.

That is how high the stakes are in the top flight league. Just one week ago Congo parted ways with Gideon Ochieng, their coach, after a 4-0 thrashing by KCB, Matano now joins him on the jobless corner. The maiden win saw Congo move out of the bottom of the table currently occupied by Nairobi City Stars who, though ,have a game in hand.

While attention might be focussed on Matano’s dismissal, Tusker continued their relentless march toward a ninth ever league crown as they beat high-flying Western Stima thanks to two goals from Maurice Odipo that saw the brewers notch an unbelievable seventh win in eight matches.

Daily Nation reports

Robert Matano became the second coaching casualty after AFC Leopards were stunned 1-0 by Congo United on Sunday, the debutant Mombasa club’s first Kenyan Premier League win of the season.

It has been an uphill struggle for Congo who fired their coach Gideon Ochieng last weekend and nothing seemed to be working for them.
But new coach Gilbert Selebwa seems to have come with new hope as he led them to victory on Sunday and exacted sweet revenge on his former employers who showed him the door despite his efforts to haul them back into the premiership from the Nationwide League.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Post Match: Congo United (A)

Leopards lost 1-0 away to Congo Utd

Daily Nation report here

Congo United registered their first win in the Kenya Premier League when they edged out AFC Leopards 1-0 in an entertaining match at the KPA Mbaraki Sports Club.

It was a sweet victory for new Congo United coach Gilbert Selebwa who took over from  sacked Gideon Ochieng early in the week.

Selebwa, formerly coach at Leopards, said he had proved a point to his former club who unceremoniously threw him out after he struggled with the team through the Nationwide League.

Congo United captain Rama Salim scored the all-important goal via a penalty in the 78th minute after he was brought down by Leopards’ skipper Nicholas Muyoti.
Kenya Football Federation vice-chairman Twaha Mbarak gave Congo a Sh20,000 cash award for their rare win.

AFC Leopards visit to the Oceanic City of Mombasa ended disastrously on Sunday afternoon as Congo United collected their first KPL win with a 50th minute goal courtesy captain Rama Salim.The win is a sure boost to Congo’s new coach Gilbert Selebwa (formerly AFC Leopards’ coach) who collected maximum points on his first assignment in charge after taking over the team on Monday this week following the dismissal of former coach Gideon Ochieng.

Before Sunday’s match, Congo United languished at the bottom of table on 2 points from two draws in seven matches but have now increased their tally to five points after eight matches. The win pushes Congo a slot above City stars who now take the tail end of the league on four points.

In the first half, it was a case of wasted chances by both sides with AFC Leopards up in arms blaming the match officials for denying them a genuine penalty in the 30th minute when Masiolo was brought down in the box.

Two minutes after the break, a goal bound Rama Salim was also brought down in the box on the other end by defender Douglas Okumu and referee Dan Ongindi pointed to the spot. Rama Salim stepped up to calmly slot home the lone goal for Congo United in the 50th minute to spark off wild jubilation in Mombasa.

The goal rejuvenated AFC Leopard’s attack with Matano throwing in Itubu Imbem but that did not translate to anything tangible as Itubu and Wandera wasted numerous scoring chances in the dying minutes of the match to end their coastal tour without a single point.

Speaking after the match, Congo United captain and goal scorer Rama Salim thanked the new changes brought by Selebwa in the team saying that contributed immensely to their famous first win.

“This is my best performance this season and I thank all the players for putting in their all to ensure we win the match. The new changes brought by our coach have done us great good.” Said Rama.

AFC Leopards coach Robert Matano who has been under immense pressure from the fans to resign blamed the referee for biased officiating claiming he was denied a genuine penalty in the first half of the match.

Congo United team officials led by their vice chairman Evans Mzungu praised their team’s new performance citing a new dawn for their embattled club.

“We are all delighted by the win; it was not just a win but a big win against a big team. The boys played very well and next week’s match against Gor Mahia will be a sure entertainer because we shall stop at nothing but maximum points’ collection.” Said team Vice chairman Evans Kazungu.

Pre Match: Congo United (A)

Leopards take on winless Congo United in Mombasa.

Congo United Vs AFC Leopards(Mombasa Live on SuperSport 9)

Congo United this week the first side to sack their coach due to poor performance showing Gideon Ochieng the door after getting two points out of a possible 21. New coach Gilbert Selebwa will make his debut against his former team AFC Leopards who are in sixth position having recovered their footing to win their last match against City Stars.

Coach Robert Matano will be happy that his stocky striker Hugo Nzoka scored twice and he will be going all out for a win to silence his detractors.

Our Prediction:0-2

Kenyan international midfielder Hillary ‘Forde’ Echesa is headed to AFC Leopards during the mid season transfer window,Michezoafrika.com can reveal. Echesa formerly of Tanzanian club SC Simba is currently in the country recuperating from a knee operation carried out early in February to repair his recurrent knee injury that  sidelined him from active play at Simba SC for weeks before end of the 2010/11 season.

Echesa alongside another Kenya prodigy Jerry Santos were key pillars of the Tanzanian giants Simba SC constantly hitting the Tanzanian headlines with their sterling performances in the league.

Confirming the news, Hillary Echesa who resides in Nakuru town acknowledged having been approached by AFC Leopards officials but the two parties are yet to officially put pen to paper to seal the deal.

“Yes we are still in talks with AFC Leopards officials but we are yet to finalize the move. I also had another offer from Tusker FC but I see the AFC deal pulling through soon if the current talks end well.” Said Echesa.

AFC Leopards Secretary general JJ Bukachi also confirmed to michezoafrika.com that they are keen on effecting sweeping changes on the AFC Leopards playing unit with a number of experienced players arleady lined up on their scouting list to join the team during the mid season transfer window.

“We are determined to win this year’s league and I promise that AFC Leopards will be a great giant to wrestle in the second leg because we are trying all we can to scout some of the best players in readiness for the mid season transfer window.Echesa is among some of our best targets at the moment and negotiations are in top gear.” Said Bukachi.

Before moving for professional soccer outside Kenya in Malaysia and Tanzania, Echesa played for Nzoia Sugar FC, Mumias Sugar and Ulinzi Stars.He says he is excited to come back to the Kenyan premier league at a time when competition is at its best.

“Kenyan football has really grown to become one of the best leagues in Africa and am burning to get back to the home league. Am feeling fine, my knee injury is fully sorted and am ready for action once again.” He said.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Post Match: City Stars (A)

From the KPL website:-

AFC Leopards 2 Nairobi City Stars 1

AFC Leopards, bruised in two previous defeats to Western Stima and KCB, fought like terriers; and hardened men were at the forefront.

The hardy striker, Hugo Nzangu, got both goals for Leopards but after his first in the 16th minute was cancelled out by an own goal by teammate defender John Amboko, Nzangu had to find a second which came right at the death.

Jimmy Bagaye, John Makwata, David King’atua and George Odary constantly threatened Leopards’ defense and indeed Amboko, formerly of City Stars, scored “for” his former club due to pressure.

Odary’s free-kick found Bagaye in the box but the Ugandan was bundled off the ball by Leopards’ defender Abraham Cokie. In the melee, Amboko’s attempt to clear bamboozled the flat-footed Barnabas Tiema in goal.

The teams looked headed for a draw four minutes into injury time when Nzangu rose above the City Stars defence to head in the winner.

Supersport had this story:-

Hugo Nzangu scored a last gasp goal to give AFC Leopards all three points in a 2-1 win over Nairobi City Stars at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday. 

The match looked to be headed for a draw after an own goal by John Amboko had cancelled out Nzangu’s first half strike but the former Sofapaka marksman turned in the rebound in the dying embers of the game to ensure all three points for Ingwe. 

The victory halted a poor run of form that had seen the 13 time league champions lose two league matches in a row. Going into the match, Leopards needed a win and they got off to the perfect start going ahead on 11 minutes through Nzangu who took advantage after City Stars failed to clear their lines.

Leopards should have made it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime but City's keeper pulled off a vital stop to keep out a Nzangu header off an Abraham Cokie freekick with Itubu Imbem unable to score from the rebound.

The Kawangware side had much better start to the second half and they equalized when former City Stars defender Amboko headed the ball into his own net off a David Kingatua freekick.

Both side missed out on half chances as they went for all three points but with time running out Nzangu stepped up to score a vital goal for Leopards.

MichezoAfrika stated:-

Hugo Nzoka`s brace helped a hapless AFC Leopards prey on City stars ending their two match losing streak at Nyayo stadium. The former Sofapaka reserve netted in the sixteenth minute with a powerful volley after Itubu Imbem brought in a cross from the right flank. Hugo`s opener put Ingwe ahead against the run of play as City stars dominated the match from kick-off.

Jimmy Bageya and George Odary constantly threatened Leopards’ defense marshaled by captain Nicholas Muyoti and John Amboko formerly of City stars. Stars put pressure on Robert Matano`s boys after falling behind and their endeavors nearly bore fruit in the 29 minute when John Mark Makwata`s surging run caught the backline napping. The midfielder unleashed a clever chip which the ever busy Barnabas Tiema in Leopards goal stretched full length to parry out for a corner.

Five minutes from the breather Leopards were once more under siege from stars offensive. Bageya picked a long ball flouted forward by Peter Ashango, dribbled past Douglas Okumu and Muyoti before laying a neat cross for David Kingatua. The youngster could have leveled terms for Ken Odhiambo`s boy but chose to let the ball roll over to Odary whos belated shot veered inches wide.

On the other end of the field, Peter Odhiambo denied Muyoti in the last minute of first half with an award winning save. AFC Leopards skipper sent a powerful header from a Selenga Mangili corner only to see his effort parried by Odhiambo.

City stars leveled nine minutes after restart courtesy of John Amboko`s own goal. Odary sent forward a low free-kick after Bageya was hauled to the ground by Abraham Cokie only for the defender to lift the ball over a bent Tiema for stars Equalizer. Stars pressed for the winning goal pinning leopards to their half until the introduction of Martin Imbalambala 25 minutes from time. Imbalambala managed to stable the midfield and cushion AFC back line with impressive tackles and fine passes.

The teams looked headed for a draw until the 94th minute when Nzoka rose above a crowded defense to head in Leopards winner and giving Matano a sigh of relief.

After the match Coach Matano  had breezed calls for resignation from fans, disappointed by the club’s poor showing. In response after the match he said:” In football there is losing and wining. League is a marathon with corners to be made. Losing two games does not take us out of title contention, we are not even halfway.”

The Nairobi City Stars website reported the game as follows:-

A week after recording their first win of the season, the Nairobi City Stars found themselves in unfamiliar ground. Going down to AFC Leopard at Nyayo Stadium on a Sunday fixture.

Two goals by Congolese import, Hugo Nzoka, gave 'ingwe' a much deserved win ending their losing streak.

The City Stars started the game with the same line-up that played Gor Mahia, except for Nicholas Meja who was introduced in the back line. A strong build up in the first paces of the encounter between Jimmy Bageya and David Kengatua dismantled the Leopards defensive line. Itubu Imbem tried to impose his runs, but it was his teammate Hugo Nzoka who stole the headline.

With only fifteen minutes into the first half Nzoka gave the visitors the lead after he converted a Mutitiyia Selenga cross. Not boyed by the lead, City Stars continued to push forward displaying wonderful football, dictating the pace and possession, which did not go well with a section of Leopard supporters calling for direct resignation of head coach Robert Matano.

Kelvin Nyongesa's clever chip almost caught Tiema Barnabas flat foot, but good keeping saw him maintain his clean sheet at the half hour mark. With the lead to their advantage, Leopards tried changing strategy with Imbem and Selenga swapping flanks in a bid to add more crack on City Stars' defense.

George Odary could have equalized for his team with five minutes to go before the end of the half by his dummy run, which saw a Bageya cross running without conversion following a strong build up from the midfield. Imbem almost extended their lead, but his shot took a wrong direction and ending the first half.

The second half saw a more composed City Stars and with only seven minutes in the half, Odary sent a powerful freekick that deflected off former City Stars skipper, John Amboko, to equalizer. Until 94th minute, when imposing Nzoka scored the second goal, following a goal mouth melle the gave his team the win.

Martin Imbalambala's introduction in the sixtieth minute brought some stability to AFC's midfield, which was out played by City Stars midfielders.

Kenga's bicycle kick on 78th missed the target by only a few inches. Bageya was stretched out, following an injury, as Simon Ogutu stepped in as well as Geoffrey Shikanda. Imbalambala's chip hit cross bar in the dying minutes of the game, ending a match which it's means did not justify the end.

Scoring Summary:
15' - Hugo Nzoka (AFC)
54' - Own Goal (NCS)
90' - Hugo Nzoka (AFC)

Match Stats:
1 Goals 2
6 Shots 8
2 Saves 3
3 Corners 4
14 Fouls 5
3 Offsides 1
2 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards

Written by NCS Correspondant -- Godwill

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pre Match: City Stars (A)

City Stars Vs AFC Leopards(Nyayo)

City Stars might have achieved an unprecedented results beating mighty Kogalo pushing them from the bottom of the table where they have been rooted for the four weeks but facing a wounded Leopards side coming from two straight losses will be a huge task indeed as Matano will want to get back to winning ways. City Stars will also be looking for that continuity against a Leopards side who are ninth with nine points.

Our Prediction:1-2

KPL website has the following:- 

(15)Nairobi City Stars v (7)AFC Leopards

Nairobi City Stars shocked Gor Mahia 1-0 at the City Stadium last weekend which ensured they would not continue languishing at the bottom of the table. If they are in the same mood, City Stars have an equal chance for a similar good performance against big-name Leopards who appear to have some playing problems at the moment.

Lack of results for Leopards, including two 1-0 losses in a row to Western Stima and KCB, seems to be blamed on lack of ideas by coach Robert Matano who is now under pressure to deliver.
Leopards’ tribulations could not come at a better time for City Stars who will hope to capitalize on any destabilizing issues in their opponent’s camp.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Post Match: KCB (H)

Not the result you were expecting but Leopards went down by a solitary goal to KCB. The video highlights of the match are available here

The Standard reports:-

AFC Leopards caged

KCB completed a week of remarkable upsets by taming AFC Leopards at the City Stadium with a solitary Michael Oyando goal from a freekick.

Rangers had claimed Sofapaka’s prized scalp with a stunning 2-0 win at the same venue on Saturday before Nairobi City Stars struck Gor Mahia with Cupid’s Arrow in a match their coach Ken Odhiambo said it was like watching "a romance movie."

And yesterday, AFC Leopards huffed and puffed, trying to banish any ideas of an upset by the bankers — largely driven by their illustrious past. But hard as they tried, KCB held their own until a clip from behind by Emmanuel Tostao on Benjamin Chaka gave the bankers the platform to hurt the felines.

Oyando’s freekick executed with his favoured left foot took a wicked deflection to zip into the top left corner to trigger a deafening silence as the ball nestled at the bottom of the net.

Evans Wandera went close with a header off Martin Imbalambala’s long throw-in, and in what could pass for a lesson that "many rats cannot dig a hole", several AFC Leopards clattered into each other when Demonde Selenga burst into the box at the death.

Creditably though, KCB goalkeeper Caleb Adola had the presence of mind to keep his eyes on the ball, making a vital block as Leopards poured forward for a leveller. If KCB coach would be a happy man with the three points, it is his striker Hussein Puzzo who went home a relieved lad as moments before Adola’s save, he had wheeled away unattended from the centre-circle only to try a not-so-clever chip on goalkeeper Barnabas Tiema.

It did not matter after 90 minutes as Saleh claimed first leg bragging rights against Robert Matano who had spoken of AFC Leopards’ unbreakable spirit before the match.

MichezoAfrika.Com reports:-

AFC will live to blame themselves for ruined open chances including a last gasp opportunity in the 92nd minute that saw Demonde Selenga blast direct to the body of a fully stretched Caleb Adola in the KCB goal.

Matano took a different approach in the match resting Itubu Imbem and starting Demonde Selenga in the offensive midfield. When he came in as a substitute in the second half, Itubu Imbem was played on the flanks other than his normal central forward position.

Laurent Tumba had a casual day throwing away a clean chance in the 20th minute when he received a perfect cross from Demonde Selenga but his slow reaction allowed the ball through way between his legs in an opportunity easier to score than to miss.

International midfielder Abraham Cokie almost opened the scores for AFC in the 25th minute but his well executed curl from a free kick at the edge went inches wide.

In the second half, a series of blind passes and lack of cohesiveness in the midfield cost AFC leopards a flowing game as KCB looked well organized at the centre.

Matano threw in Itubu Imbem and Evans Wandera in the second half but this did not make any meaningful difference as KCB remained solid in defense to cut out the attacks.

KCB ‘s goal was scored by Michael Oyando in the 68th minute from a free kick 25 meters off the goal.Oyando sent home a dipping screamer that dropped right under the nose of Barnabas Tiema.

A long throw from substitute martin Imbalambala almost caused damage to KCB but Evans Wandera’s header was slightly off target.

It could have been 2-0 in favor of KCB had Hussein Puzzo slotted home in the 88th minute.Puzzo alone with Tiema with the entire defense rooted in protest of offside failed to  beat Tiema and his weak chip over was easily dealt with.

A counter attack immediately after almost leveled the scores but poor execution and over dribbling by Demonde Selenga ruined the last minute chance for AFC.

Keeper Caleb Adola had himself booked for malicious time wasting when he repeatedly untied his shoe laces to quell the pressure mounted by AFC.The tactical approach eventually paid off as AFC remained frustrated with quick reactions that failed to build up.

“This was not our day at all. We did not utilize our chances and am starting to get a little bit worried about our finishing. It is very blunt of late.” Said AFC Leopards Coach Matano Robert.

The loss is the second consecutive disappointing outing for AFC Leopards after going down 0-1 at the Bukhungu stadium against Western Stima last week on Sunday.

KPL website reports:-

Michael Oyando’s 68th minute free kick from 25 meters dipped amazingly over AFC Leopards’ ‘keeper Barnabas Tiema to give KCB their second win in a row that took them to the third spot on the table.

Leopards had numerous chances but a reshuffled line-up seemed not to have been beneficial. The changes may have been necessary after Leopards previous 1-0 loss to Western Stima in Kakamega but they just did not show profit.

Keeper Caleb Adola played a sterling role in the bankers’ defence and thwarted many Leopards’ raids in which Dimonde Selenga was the executioner.

“This was not our day at all. We could not convert any of our chances and I am starting to get a little bit worried about our finishing. It is very blunt of late,” said Leopards coach Robert Matano.

Nairobi Star has the report as follows:-

Nation also had the story in itas print edition though none was available online.

Clearly the newspapers have smethinbg for Demonde Selenga.
The Standings as per the KPL website

2Western Stima641152313
6Gor Mahia631245-110
7AFC Leopards63035509
8Ulinzi Stars62225418
9Thika United52127617
10Mathare United62136607
11Sony Sugar621357-27
12Karuturi Sports621358-37
14Chemelil Sugar612338-55
15City Stars611428-64
16Congo United602438-52

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pre Match: KCB (H)

Robin Toskin in the Standard reports:-

AFC Leopards have enjoyed success over Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) over six previous meetings with the last one at City Stadium, the same venue as today holding precious memories for eccentric coach Robert Matano.

AFC Leopards appeared dead and buried on July 25 last year, trailing 3-1 up until the 73rd minute, the felines roused from slumber to claw back to a 4-3 victory— achieved with the last kick of the ball.

It was to be one of scintillating matches of the season as Demonde Selenga struck one of the fastest hat-tricks in local football and Nigerian Harry Gentle smashed home a free-kick to cap a memorable comeback.

After their 1-0 defeat to Western Stima last week Matano said the players have learnt their mistakes and are ready for the bankers’ challenge.

"The good thing about this team is its fighting spirit. We have always found ourselves in difficult situations, coming off a defeat, but we manage to bounce back," Matano said pointing at their victory over KCB last year and even a harder one against Gor Mahia way back in 1986 at the same venue.

Gor Mahia were leading 2-0 with ten minutes left via Sammy Onyango "Jogoo" and George "Nyangi" Odembo’s strikes, but Dan Musuku struck a brace and Patrick Shim hit the winner.
"That spirit lives on. And on Sunday we will apply ourselves until the final whistle," Matano said.

It is unlikely though it would be smooth sailing against Leonard Saleh’s men who were heartbroken in their 1-0 loss to Gor Mahia a week ago.

KCB, who had lost only once, 1-0 at Western Stima, before that game, were resolute, but cracked under intense Gor pressure as Tony Onyango slipped the ball wide to the right for the unmarked Solomon Nasio to unlock the banker’s vault.

Saleh said it is unlikely the same scenario would be replayed.

"It was a painful experience losing that game. We are mature enough now and we would not want a repetition of the same thing. I believe we have taken every precaution to approach this match with a positive mind," Saleh said.

KCB will be without grieving attacking midfielder Job Omuse, who lost a child.

Daniel Waweru, who scored against Leopards before hobbling off after a collision with goalkeeper Lawrence Webo in the defeat, is three months away from action following a knee operation since the injury.

IngweFans.Com reports

  1. Matano for a win on his first match in charge
  2. Demonde for the hat trick
  3. Gentle for the winning cracker

Sunday the 25th of September 2010 goes down as one of the most memorable days in the recent History of AFC Leopards.  Coach Robert Matano had just been crafted in to try and salvage the team following a streak of poor performances that led to ejection of Chris Makokha as the Coach. A confident KCB side was matano’s first assignment and fans demanded nothing but a win.

With just 17 minutes of the match played, Leopards were trailing by 2 goals courtesy of Michael Oyando and Ezekiel Odera(now playing for Gor-mahia). Leopards Captain of the day Demonde Selenge literally led from the front finding the back of the net in the 26th minute to keep leopards in the match. The underperforming leopard were however to go down 3-1 in the 64th minute through a Geoffrey Maina header.

Coach Matano who doesn’t take losses kindly threw all caution through the window and brought in three strikers Paul Odhiambo, Abdulrahman Shaban and Joseph Okumu a move that added more flare to his attack line.

The remarkable comeback started in the 72nd minute when then Captain Demonde selenge tapped in a cross from substitute Joseph Okumu to make it 3-2. Five minutes later, Selenge completed his heart trick slotting in a beautiful goal after a solo effort with a run from the midfield. Just when everyone seemed to have settled for a 3-3 draw, Leopards won a free kick in stoppage time close to 30 yards from goal. Defender Harry gentle stepped up to take the free kick. Against expectations of many a fans, he rammed in a screamer gifting leopards the 4th and winning goal of the match.

While Matano and Selenge are still part of the team, their counterpart in the 4-3 demolition of KCB Harry Gentle is no longer a player at AFC leopards. Facebook branch has invited Harry Gentle to the KCB match on Sunday and alongside other fans, are set to honor the trio for a win that marked a comeback in the fight against relegation.

The match Preview  AFC Leopards vs KCB

AFC Leopards vs KCB

Sunday the 10th of April

City stadium, from 4pm

After losing Ezekiel Odera who was their top scorer last season, it was everyone’s guess that the bankers were going to struggle in front of goal but that was not to be as they have proved to be as lethal without Odera, with new signing Clifford Alwang’a proving to be a worthy replacement.

AFC Leopards on the other hand are a group of players with experience and a rich history oozing from their veins. Last season they had a bad season, also fighting to avoid relegation. But this season, they look a more determined side with their fans fully behind their backs.

Their new signings have also been an impact in the team with the results coming in favor of them. Nicholas Muyoti who moved from Sofapaka back to the club of his heydays was immediately handed the arm band and has proved to be inspirational at Ingwe’s backline.

Coached by result oriented Robert Matano the side has grown with each match they have played and will be a force to reckon with in the league.

Both of the teams have an almost similar pattern in their league games so far. Out of five games, both have won three and lost two, all their first and latest matches.

AFC Leopards began with a 2-0 loss at the hands of current leaders Tusker FC while KCB began with a 1-0 loss away to Western Stima in Bukhungu. Before losing by the same margin to Gor Mahia, they beat Bandari 4-1, Nairobi City stars 2-0 and Thika United 2-1 away in Thika. For AFC Leopards, they started their winning streak immediately after Robert Matano took charge, beating Rangers 3-1, Ulinzi stars and Karutiuri sports by a similar 1-0 margin.

Last weekend AFC had a bad outing at the Bukhungu stadium with their hosts totally out playing them. However their opponents KCB had a brighter game against Gor Mahia under the intimidating crowd and were only unlucky to lose.

Game Overview

In all their four meetings since 2009, Leopards has the upper hand with two wins while KCB has one, with the fourth being a draw. In 2009, the two played almost on a similar date they play this weekend. They played on the 11th of April and the tie went to a 1-1 draw. 

This season they play on the 11th of April. Will it play out in the same way? In the second leg played on the 15th of August, Leopards won 3-1. In the 2010 season, the two met early in February on the 21st and KCB banked the Leopards 2-1. However, Leopards came clawing back winning the second leg 4-3.

Both teams have an almost similar mode of playing with all choosing to slow down with the ball and build from the back. The two teams have potentially raspy wingers who can torment the opponents’ defense at their own peril with immense pace.

However, the two also have their weak points. AFC Leopards’ defense can be their main undoing if they do not seal it well with their midfield. The defense led by Captain Nicholas Muyoti is very good on a one-on-one situation but can be quite frail on the counter due to pace. With the likes of Clifford Alwanga and Brian Osumba, the AFC defense has a lot to think about before the match.

For KCB their midfield is not the strongest and AFC Leopards will be looking to exploit them on that front and attack from the midfield. With speedy players like Demonde Selenga and those who can shoot from distance like Hugo Nzagu, the bankers might be in for a tough ride.

Probable line ups


Saleh is expected to field almost the Similar squad that faced Gor Mahia over the weekend. Kaleb Adola will be the most certain to start at goal with captain Joseph Kangata, Samwel Otieno, Joseph Apindi and Eugene Asike being deployed in defense. In midfield, Saleh Is expected to start  Geoffrey Maina in place of Job Enderiseh who will be out on a compassionate off after losing his child. Maina will partner with Paul Mungai at the centre of the pack with Luke Ochieng and Michael Oyando being pulled wide. Clifford Alwang’a will lead the hunt for goals alongside Benjamin Chaka.

AFC Leopards
Barnabas Tiema will most definitely start in goal. Douglas Okumu, Nicholas Muyoti, John Amboko and Edgar waudo are the four most likely to be trusted in defense. Having turned the game around at Bukhungu, Martin Imbalambala’s role in midfield could be extended in the KCB match. Coach Matano will also hope that Salim Khamis Kinje fresh from injury will make it for the match on Sunday. Other suspects in midfield would be Liberian import Abraham Cockie and Congolese Demonde Selenge.  Itubu Imbem will lead the striking alongside impressive Hugo Nzangu.