It has been an active time at the Leopards with the launch of the Ingwe TV a few days ago.
Ingwe then travelled to Tanzania to face up with Simba Sports Club in a friendly match which was drawn 0-0. Smart TV travelled for the match too and will be screening it soon, according to some reports. KPL website reported the match as follows:-
AFC Leopards were overwhelmingly the better side in a thrilling friendly with Simba that ended goalless despite the Kenyans’ attacking strength here on Saturday.
Striker Mike Baraza, had three beautiful opportunities to Leopards against his former Dar es Salaam side and was also denied a penalty award after he had dribbled past defenders then brought to the ground inside the box in the 15th minute.
Uganda international striker Emmanuel Okwi had the best chance for Simba when he shot from the left flank in ninth minute only for Leopards ‘keeper Patrick Matasi to pull off a stunning save. But Simba then struggled in attack and never really put any more pressure on the visitors throughout the match.
Simba are preparing for the start of the Tanzania Vodacom League on August 20. But before then, the former league champions will be taking on current champions Young Africans, also of Dar es Salaam, in the pre-season Community Shield clash in Dar on Wednesday.
Simba will then be back here in Arusha for their start-of-season match with local Army side JKT (Jeshi La Kulinda Taifa ] Ol Joro.
SIMBA - 1. Juma Kaseja (18. Aly Mustafa, 70’), 2. Nasoro Cholo (15. Shaban Kapombwe, 55’), 17. Amir Muftah, 6. Victor Costa, 24. Juma Nyoso (5. Kevin Yondani, 70’), 13. Jerry Santos, 11. Salum Mwachaku, 28. Amir Kiemba (21. Rajab Ismael, 65’), 9. Gervus Kago (10. Felix Sunzu, 46’), 25. Emmanuel Okwi (7. Uhuru Suleiman, 46’), 30. Patrick Mafisango
Reserves not used - 22. Wilbert Mweta, Gk; 16. Obadiah Mwangusa, 23. Juma Jabu, 4. Salum Kanoni Coach - Moses Bassena [Uganda]
AFC LEOPARDS - 1. Patrick Matasi : 5. Edwin Wafula Baraza, 26. Robert Siongo (13. Edgar Waudo, 90+), 4. Martin Imbalambala, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 6. Nicholas Muyoti (captain), 10. Charles Okwemba (9. Samuel “Misse” Mwangi, 55’), 27. Oscar Kadenge (14. Silas Aluvisia, 46’), 11. Mike Baraza (8. Brian Masiolo, 80’), 18. Salim “Kinje” Khamis (20. Ramadhan Shaaban, 87’), 21. Emmanuel Tostao (8. Laurent Tumba, 85’)
Reserves not used - 34. Abel Omuhaya, Gk Coach - Jan Koops [The Netherlands]
The clash between Sofapaka and Leopards is a crucial one for both teams as Leopards tries to move up from its current low league position. The Standard in an article by Robin Toskin reports:-
As Sofapaka took a 2-0 cushion to the dressing room over AFC Leopards for the halftime ritual on June 29, their chairman Elly Kalekwa, clearly gleefully enjoying the score line, chuckled: "Sisi ni paka wadogo. AFC ni paka wakubwa!" (We are the smaller cats. AFC are the big cats). Not that Sofapaka has anything to do with the cat, for Sofapaka is an acronym for SOte kama FAmilia, PAmoja Kuafikie Azimio.
But on that night at Nyayo Stadium, a little indulgence in incongruent comparisons would be welcome for Sofapaka faithful as AFC Leopards officials huddled on the VIP stand trying to discern what had hit them.
In the end, Sofapaka triumphed 3-1 thanks to Bob Mugalia’s brace and John Njoroge’s goal while DR Congo-born Burundian defender Jonas Nahimana struck from a free-kick on his debut.
Then, AFC Leopards were in a crisis. But hat storm is over, according to Dutch coach Jan Koops.
"We have made some progress towards solving our defensive problems. Imbalambala (Martin) is a rejuvenated player now and his return to the heart of the defence has brought some stability. Sofapaka are clearly the favourites, but we will put up a good fight," Koops told FeverPitch ahead of tomorrow’s clash at 7pm.
And after their 0-0 draw away to Tanzania giants Simba SC, Koops believes the felines are on the right track to recovery, but must beginning to put away myriad chances they create.
"I would have been worried if we were not creating chances at all. My concern though is we have to tuck them away," 70-year-old Dutchman said.
Koops used the friendly to test goalkeeper Patrick Matasi and came off with flying colours, but the Dutchman insists communication is key between his defenders and the man between the sticks.
Left back Collins Kisuya did not make the trip to Tanzania because of a stomach bug will return in place of Robert Syongoh, while Nahimana partner Imbalambala at the centre and Edwin Baraza manning the right back. Mike Baraza, named joint Kandanda Award winner for July with Jerim Onyango, will lead the frontline again against a Sofapaka side frustrated by Nairobi City Stars last week. With Tusker setting the pace at the top of the table, Francis Kimanzi cut a frustrated figure as City Stars, Sofapaka’s bogey team, pegged back his charges.
"Tell me the system you can use to break down a team that played with ten men behind the ball?" Kimanzi said when asked about his side’s inability to beat City Stars.
But with the availability of creative midfielder Humphrey Mieno whose move to Club Africain was put in the freezer, Kimanzi will hope to have the Allen key to unscrew the Leopards defence. Bar the 1-0 victory over Sony Sugar and three points on the table from their unplayed game against Ulinzi Stars, the sale of utility captain James Situma to Albania’s FK Tirana and the temporary absence Mieno has stripped Sofapaka of pillars.
The 1-0 loss to Karuturi Sports and a 0-0 draw against City Stars may have left a whiff of blood on the trail of Leopards tomorrow evening. But, only if Koops and Mickey Weche have actually replaced a pack of cards for a defence with real oak wood.
KPL website gives the starting line ups:-
AFC LEOPARDS will be starting without their captain Nicholas Muyoti who will be on the bench when they take on Sofapaka in a “live’ television match at the National Stadium on Wednesday night. Charles Okwemba temporarily takes the skipper’s arm band to lead out what coach Jan Koops has of late settled for being his strongest possible side. They will need to perform at the very top to do well against a formidable Sofapaka.
Surprise starters in the Sofapaka line-up are forwards Heretier Luvualu and John Onami in a side captained by the veteran Kenya international Titus Mulama. The match kicks off at 7pm and will be broadcast on SuperSport 9.
AFC Leopards - 1. Patrick Matasi: 5. Edwin Baraza, 24. Collins Kisuya, 4. Martin Imbalambala, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 22. Bernard Mangoli, 27. Oscar Kadenge, 21. Emmanuel Tostao, 18. Salim Kinje Khamis, 10. Charles Okwemba (captain), 11. Mike Baraza Reserves - 34. Abel Omuhaya, Gk; 6. Nicholas Muyoti, 26. Robert Syongoh, 30. Samuel “Misse” Mwangi, 8. Laurent Tumba, 14. Silas Aluvisia, 7. Brian Masiolo
Coach – Jan Koops [The Netherlands]
SOFAPAKA - 39. Duncan Ochieng’: 8. Dodo Kayombo, 7. Thomas Wanyama, 25. Musa Mudde, 5. Edgar “Fighter” Ochieng’, 11. Anthony Kimani, 9. Bob Mugalia, 21. John Njoroge, 22. Heretier Luvualu, 23. Titus Mulama (captain), 19. John Onami Reserves - 28. Pascal Penda, Gk; 15. Kilonzo Tumba, 10. Patrick Kagogo, 17. Eli Asieche, 30. Joseph Nyaga, 16. Collins Omogo, 18. Francis Ouma
Coach - Francis Kimanzi
Referee - Isaac Ochieng’ Assistant ref - David Otianga Asst ref - Oliver Ouma Reserve ref - Haji Adede Match commissioner - Daniel Githaka