Thursday, January 27, 2011

Journey Ends, Journey Begins

William Oduke, the Honorary Secretary General of Leopards at its most successful spell in the 1980s has passed on.

An obituary posted in the Daily Nation edition of 27th January 2011 indicated that Oduke went to be with other departed Leopards legends on 23rd January 2011.

Oduke was first elected as the Assistant Secretary of Leopards on 24th February 1980 when he was serving under the Chairmanship of Dr. Walter Masiga.

In the elections held on  5th December 1982, Oduke did not get elected to any post but bounced back with the elections held on 30th December 1984 when he was elected as the Secretary General of the Club serving under the Chairmanship of Hon. Alfred Sambu.


The team elected in 1984, and shown above with Oduke 6th from left, went on to lead AFC Leopards to the 1985 East and Central Africa Club Cup final against arch rivals Gor Mahia in Sudan which Leopards lost 2-0 to surrender the regional kingship. However, to atone for this loss, Leopards went on to reach the 1985 Africa Cup Winners Cup semi finals which they lost to Leventis of Nigeria after having beaten Asante Kotoko of Ghana in the quarter finals in one of the biggest upsets Leopards caused in their continental match ups in Africa.


Thank you for your service to the Leopards.

In other news, Leopards has some new faces in its line ups following the announcement of the teams signings. In the notice posted on the Kenya Premier League website, Leopards have retained some of the players from last season and added new faces who hopefully are now beginning their journey into Leopards legend.

Here is the story in full:-


AFC Leopards may be having serious leadership wars at the very top but curiously they are the only Kenyan Premier League club looking all set for the new season as far as the completion of signing contracted players is concerned.

The KPL secretariat confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that only Leopards had brought in the player roster for 2011 with duly agreed upon contracts.

“But we rejected some contracts because they were lacking accompanying documents,” said a KPL official.

“The contracts of 20 Leopards players appear in order and hopefully they will put the others right because they have ample time before the transfer closing date next Monday [January 31].
“This demonstrates a situation many other teams may find themselves in if they are intending to bring their documents here in the last hour. I advise them to bring the in quickly,” said the official.

Leopards appear to have spared nothing in getting their act of picking their team together. They have spent between Sh40,000 to Sh150,000 per player to lure him from a club or convince him to extend his contract at Leopards.

For example, Leopards spent Sh150,000 each on Congolese strikers Dimonde Selenga Mangili and Itubu Imbem to have them agree on a farther stay at Leopards. The club has also spent Sh130,000 and Sh100,000 to influence the move of Evans Wandera from Sofapaka and Brian Masiolo from Western Stima respectively.

All the transactions are accompanied by payment with a cheque drawn by Mumias Sugar Company, the new sponsors of AFC Leopards. The total transfer bill for Leopards footed by Mumias Sugar is Sh1,230,000.

The approved 2011 AFC Leopards roster :-
1. Barnabas Tiema (Goalkeeper), renewed contract, Sh40,000 paid
2. Brian Masiolo (Striker, Western Stima), Sh100,000
3. Selenga Mangili (Striker, renewed contract), Sh150,000
4. Bernard Wanyama (Midfielder, renewed contract),Sh40,000
5. Ezekiel Seda (Midfielder, Kakamega School) Sh30,000
6. Paul Odhiambo (Striker, renewed contract), Sh30,000
7. Edwin Simiyu (Defender, renewed contract), Sh40,000
8. Itubu Imbem (Striker, renewed contract), Sh150,000
9. Douglas Okumu (Defender, renewed contract), Sh40,000
10. Joab Amboko (Defender, Nairobi City Stars), Sh50,000
11. Hugo Nzangu (Striker, Sofapaka), Sh70,000
12. Evans Wandera (Midfielder, Sofapaka), Sh100,000
13. Laurent Tumba (Midfielder, Sofapaka), Sh130,000
14. Augustine Etemesi (Midfielder, Tusker), Sh50,000
15. Laban Tsimonjera (Midfielder, renewed contract), Sh30,000
16. Edgar Wachinya (Defender, Local Government FC), Sh50,000
17. Martin Imbambala (Defender, renewed contract), Sh40,000
18. Milton Milimo (Defender, renewed contract), Sh40,000
19. Gideon Ogude (Defender, Red Berets), Sh50,000
20. Abraham Cokie (Midfielder, Pertoleum Refinery, Liberia), Sh100,000

The official website in the meantime also announced some guidelines for fan recruitment. Those who cant play for Leopards can still get membership by following the following details:-

AFC Leopards has issued guidelines to be followed by those interested in updating their membership status in view of the upcoming AGM.

Below are the guidelines.

GUIDELINES FOR AFC 2011 MEMBERSHIP UPDATING EXERCISE

1.Payment to be made to the AFC bank account in Cooperative Bank

2.Bank slip to be taken to club offices below for issuance of receipt and registration.

APA Insurance Arcade, Suite 11, First Floor, Hurlingham.

3.Office hours for remittance of bank slips for issuance of receipt – 4pm to 6pm starting Wednesday 26th January 2011, on weekdays only.

CONDITIONS
1. Membership registration is kshs 500/=
2. No individual is allowed to deposit money for more than 2 individuals
3. Membership for the purpose of participating in the AGM will close on the 6th of February 2011.
4. All queries to the branches co-coordinator (Alutalala Mukhwana) on 0737-467382.

Monday, January 24, 2011

We Meet Again

On Sunday morning, Leopards fans awoke to the announcement in the Sunday Nation newspaper at page 45 that the club was scheduled to have its Annual General Meeting on 13th February 2011.

The club website also had the announcement

AFC Leopards SC has announced February 13th 2011 to be the date for the Annual General Meeting.

According to the notice issued by the club, the meeting shall be held at Nyayo National Stadium Hall at 10.00a.m.

The Agenda has been listed as follows:-
- To read & confirm minutes of previous Annual General Meeting.
-To receive,consider and adopt the accounts for the year 2010 by treasurer.
- To Appoint Auditors for the club.
- To receive, consider and adopt the club's proposed budget for the year 2011.
- Enactment of the proposed new AFC Leopards constitution
- Election of all office bearers

All persons interested to register as members or in seeking any elective post have until 6th February to ensure that they have registered. Modalities for registration of new members will be released early next week. 


This announcement follows the disputed recent Annual General Meeting that had been called by Robert Asembo which aborted amidst claims that two sets of the protagonists, being magelo and Kituyi each claimed victory. Ochiel boycotted these elections.


After the parties in the disputed election tried to lodge documents at the Registry of Societies, the Registrar ordered for elections to be held within 45 days.

Elections come and go but it is the change of the constitution that may be the crucial factor in the General Meeting called for 13th February 2011. It is not clear to Ingwe Fan what new constitution shall be proposed, ratified and adopted as per item 5 of the notice by Catherine Omanyo, the Acting Secretary General.

The old constitution of Leopards can be downloaded here, whilst the constitution that was proposed by the Magelo office can be downloaded here and the constitution that had been floated by the Ochiel group can be downloaded here.

This can be compared with a dummy Football Association template constitution found here.






Friday, January 21, 2011

New Kit On The Block

The leaked photos of the new AFC Leopards 2011 playing kit have hit the internet and no, we are not talking about this website. Leopards have kept the stripped shirt design that was used during the 2010 season though it appears a section of the fans still want to see the team kitted in the hoops design that was used in the 2009 season.

The kit also features the shirt sponsors Mumias Sugar Limited that has a hint of three bars with the green colour in their logo which means that Leopards will be having a shade of the colours of their arch rivals Gor Mahia on their shirts.

The team will be kitted by Adidas according to the leaked photos. In 2009, the team was kitted by Healy whereas in 2010 the kit manufacturers were not known.

The home kit features the blue and white stripes (biancazzuri) whilst the away kit features red and black stripes (rossoneri).








The club is also expected to unveil a cheer leader kit together with feminine wear.








Over the years, the Leopards kit has undergone transformation and the team has seemingly gone back to its former stripped shirt that was worn in the 1970s and the early 1980s.

Most of the photos taken of Leopards in action in the 70s featuring players such as Moses Okwaro, Jackson Masika, Jonathan Niva, Daniel Anyanzwa, Vincent Mwenje and goalkeeper Julius Were feature the team in the stripped uniform of blue and white.

In 1982, Leopards wore the blue and white hoops for the first time and since then the team became even more successful winning most trophies it played in including the selection of League Titles, the East and Central Africa Club Cup championship that made the team regional kings and also competed in the continental championship to reach the Africa Cup Winners Cup semi finals in 1985.

The uniform that they used initially was an Adidas kit that featured three blue hoops.



In 1986, Leopards enjoyed a sponsorship deal with Crown Paints and cemented the use of the hoops uniform that featured five blue hoops. The kit was Umbro and is still the kit that resonates most with many fans as Leopards became a household name in the whole of East and Central Africa and even beyond. The team had three kits, the blue and white as the home kit, the red and black as the away kit and a third kit that was in the yellowish shade. 



When the Crown Paints deal fell through after Crown Paints stopped their sponsorship of Liverpool FC, Leopards were thrown into some confusion and experimented with some uniforms. One kit featured a blue sash.



 With fans not impressed with the sash, Leopards started playing in a kit that was the same kit as that of Queens Park Rangers whose sponsor then was Influence, a sportswear company. This seeemed to be a hastily made decision but the team appeared a whole season in this uniform.



In latter years, Leopards played in a kit that had the logo of Cyperr International, a company that was owned by politician and businessman Cyrus Jirongo who was then Chairman of the team.

This is the team that won the 1992 League Championship. When the team lined up to face the Kenya Breweries team in the 1993 Super Cup sponsored by the Standard newspaper, the team was kitted in blue and white alright, but with a unusual combination of the colours.



The fortunes of the club took a battering and the team struggled though in 1998, the team won the League Championship. This time, the team was kitted in blue and white stripped though the white stripes were very slim almost giving it a whole blue colour. Fans will remember that this is the kit that the team wore when they lost the proud unbeaten record in continental championships after going down 0-1 to Kampala City Council in the 1997 CAF Cup.




During subsequent years, the team played in an assorted range of colours including red shirts and white shorts and the occassional blue and white stripes without going back to the hoops.



The team however adopted the stripes as its kit even as it tried other uniforms out.


 
When the team qualified for the continental championships once again and was drawn against Al Mourada in 2001, the team turned out in a brand new kit that was half blue and half white. The kit was made by Prostar.




Subsequent to this, there were lean times for the team and the team also played in an almost plain blue uniform with upper shoulders clearly in white and white writings.



When the team played in the Nationwide League, the team wore blue and white stripes that also had the inscription AFC LEOPARDS in blue making the reading of the blue letters against the shade background of blue quite difficult.



In 2008 after the club was promoted to the Premier league, the hoops made a comeback with four blue hoops. 



In 2009, the hoops were popular and the club had a replica shirt on sale for the first time in many years.

In 2010, the hoops were gone replaced with the stripes as the new administration took over.


 
The jury is still out on whether the stripes will prove popular but it seems the officials have done an uncanny tact of going back to the roots. Some fans still wish to have the hoops but if they do so, they should not claim that this is the traditional kit of the team but that it is the kit the team wore when it was most successful in the 1980s.



If you have any other photos of Leopards in different kit, please send an e-mail to the address below

claws.afc@gmail.com


Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Trouble With Leopards

A few days ago, the Daily Nation carried two interviews featuring Julius Ochiel and Robert Asembo. You can read about their interview here

We wish to make it very clear that on this blog, we have not taken any sides with the numerous factions that have emerged at Leopards. This blog has been in existence for almost two years since the time that Alex Ole Magelo unveiled a kit for Leopards. The comments are therefore made with a sober mind and hopefuly will be a guide to the other Ingwe Fans, those real fans whose interest is merely to see the club return to its glory days!

From the Nation interview, one can piece about some real problems that AFC Leopards, arguably one of the most popular team in the country, is currently facing. There seems to be a serious issue of dishonesty that is alleged between the persons who are being interviewed. We were able to pick out that one of the controversies involved what the current constitution of the club is. Ochiel indicated that Asembo altered the constitution that was passed at the Special General Meeting.

Which begs one thing: Was the constitution that was approved in June 2010 ever circulated to the members of the club before it was passed so that they can compare it with the disputed constitution now?

It seems that an Ingwe Fan can not read the Constitution of the club at this moment, other than having to peruse the records at the Registrar of Societies. There are serious credibility issues that arise out of the constitution that was adopted by the club including the procedure followed in its adoption.

Unlike other fans, Ingwe Fan does not pretend that the two offices of Ochiel and Magelo have been full of negatives only. No. There have also been positives and we shall start with the regime of Magelo.

Magelo was the Chairman of Leopards when the club came back from the Nationwide League to which the club had been relegated in the year 2006 after leadership wrangles had rocked the club. Leopards had played a total of 38 games and won only 9, drew ten and lost NINETEEN matches to be relegated together with Shabana FC. The Leopards officials at the time decided not to take part in the 2007 Nationwide League opting instead to try arbitration so that they could be readmitted to the League. When all failed especially when FIFA representative Jerome Champagne put his foot down that Leopards should remain relegated, Leopards with their tail between the legs went to play in the Nationwide League in 2008 that was divided in two Zones. Zone B was comfortable won by Sofapaka FC.

Zone A was won by Leopards in rather interesting circumstances. Midway though the league, Leopards was second last...


















but recovered through series of decisions that went the Ingwe way after some of the losses were turned into wins on account of the other teams using ineligible players. Leopards still needed to pray for Eldoret Mahakama to lose its last match and true enough, Mahakama lost its last match on a technicality after they were found to have caused the abandonment of their last match against Compel FC.

Eldoret Mahakama filed case in court on 1st December 2008 though High Court Misc. Civil Application No. 741 of 2008 which was however lost on a technicality.

The Magelo regime then decided to take it as if Leopards had earned their right to be in the League and this saw the club suffer in its first leg session in the league with most people predicting that the club will go back to the Nationwide.

The positives of he Magelo group were that they had gotten us back to the League. They also unveiled a new playing kit that featured the popularly called 'Rio Tinto' jerseys that were first worn by the club in the 1982 season after the club abandoned the stripes jerseys in favour of the hoops jerseys.

Secondly, they also unveiled replica jerseys for probably the fist time in many years for many fans. Though some fans question whether the club ever benefited from the sale of the jerseys, the same fans never bother to ask where the money to order those jerseys came from. Surely, if Leopards did not order the jerseys as a club, then it matters little if the monies were not all remitted to the club.

Players signed contracts with the club for the first time in a long time. However, most players claim that they were not paid what was contractually indicated and that the Magelo team left office with debts to the players.

The team unveiled a website www.afcleopards.net and the same was constantly updated by the Magelo office. This was second Leopards website after the previous fan mooted www.afcleopards.com that had lapsed after a previous Secretary General Steven Mutoro took it over in 2002 and ignored it.

The Magelo team also unveiled a new club crest that appears on this blog. The crest also featured a new motto, OURS FOREVER.

The Magelo team had an office in Hurlingham but the same was not owned by the club and was instead owned by the then Secretary General Richard Ekhalie. However, the office was well kept and most statistics about the club were available. One could easily tell how many members were paid up and receipts were routinely issued for any purchase.

The Magelo team also tried using the Ticket Masters firm to man the ticketing of the club.

I would say one of the things that didn't go the Magelo way  was the results in the Premier League. However, the club entered in the FKL Cup which was boycotted by many teams from the Premier league and having played only two matches, the club won the tournament earning the club the right to represent the country in the CAF Confederations Cup.

Like many previous offices of Leopards, the Magelo team also had some failures. They failed to put some other structures in the club and even the constitutional amendments that had been sought were not subjected to the membership and widely.

The Magelo team tried to walk before it could crawl. There were plans to sell shares in the club before the club had been transformed into a company. There were ambitious plans to have 100 members take over the club though contributing Kshs. 100,000 a lot of money by any measure.

it appeared that the driving force of this office and perhaps the one who ought to have taken credit was Richard Ekhalie as he was young and savvy and quite persuasive in the media and though other forums he arranged such as the fan Forums. Ekhalie sadly lacked substantial support from the entire office who had olden ideas whilst Ekhalie was for the new ideas. Therefore, for Magelo to take credit for this term of office sometimes looks a bit misplaced. For instance, whilst Ekhalie did not like the club relying on handouts or fundraisers and even arranged the relaunch ceremony for the club, which was widely covered by Supersport and other media, Magelo and other officials such as Duncan Angode favoured the fundraiser way and ended up overruling Ekhalie. In the end, the media focused on the paltry sums that were raised in the impromptu fundraiser instead on the many products that Ekhalie wanted to launch such as Season Tickets, Funeral Cover to mention just a few. Ekhalie had been right all along!

Ekhalie however rubbed many fans the wrong way too. He was an official who had been parachuted into Leopards unlike people like Magelo who had been with Leopards many years (perhaps the reason for Magelo sticking to the olden ways of doing things) and took some time to learn the ways of the club and its murky politics. Whilst he didnt seem to habour any ambitions for politics, he was surrounded by Councillors such as Magelo, Aladwa and Angode who sat on the Executive Board. Ekhalie also seemed to concentrate more on the financial aspects of the club such as merchandising which raised some controversy as some people asked for the accounting of proceeds.

In June 2009, Leopards were supposed to hold an AGM which wasn't held and was postponed on the flimsy ground that it was mid season. However, one Julius Ochiel joined the Executive Commitee as he was rumoured to have paid a sum of Kshs. 200,000 which entitled him to get at least 200 members on record, passing the then membership that stood at around 130 or thereabouts. These were the members who had paid the new membership fee. It seemed that Ochiel being given the Executive Committee position was supposed to calm him down not to contest the Chairmanship from Magelo with a promise the elcdtions will be held at the end of the season. So Ochiel got into the Executive Office by this invitation.

By December 2009, things had changed. Ochiel wanted the seat and Magelo feared he would lose. Magelo resigned and called for elections. You can watch the clip here. Ekhalie hadnt expected Magelo to resign and for a moment there were words exchanged between these two officials. From this report in the Standard, it appeared that Magelo blamed Ekhalie for his tribulations.

Magelo said he regretted his decision but added: "I am helpless and I cannot continue to serve as the chairman. It has been unbearable working with some of them because I realise we share nothing in common as to where Leopards should be."

Magelo’s resignation comes in the wake of the departure of the treasurer Duncan Angode who, too, cited political interference and ‘unfounded allegations of corruption.’

The two resignations have unearthed serious leadership undercurrents within the club that was teetering on the brink of relegation after regaining promotion last early this year.

Both officials point fingers at the club secretary, Richard Ekhalie, with other unnamed persons as the source of their tribulation.

Ekhalie, however, denied he had a hand but said their move was welcome, as it would now pave way for the club to push for a corporate agenda, which he says the two were opposed to.

"I am aware of his resignation and the Executive committee accepts it," Ekhalie said. He added: "The club has to move on and there will be no vacuum. If they decided to quit they know best the reasons but no one pushed them to do so."

But even as Ekhalie said there would be no vacuum, Magelo said he would call for clubs annual general meeting within seven days to hand over the club officially.

"Although I am leaving, it is only in order to call for a special general meeting within seven days where I would hand over the club to its owners," Magelo said.

Which served as a perfect opportunity for Ochiel to take advantage of the confusion. With the discovery that Micah Luvutse had never been changed as the Secretary General at the Registrar of Societies during the elections held in June 2008, and that Ekhalie for all his talking was merely an Acting Secretary General, Ochiel pounced and took over the Chairmanship when the elections were called by Luvutse.

It appears that Magelo has been caught off guard as he seemingly had surrendered without a fight. Ina late fightback, Ekhalie teamed up with Magelo once again and insisted that they were still the officials of the club.

But Ochiel and his new Secretary General Asembo were more scheming as they immediately filed the returns of their elections at the Registrar of Societies. They then filed a case in court being Chief Magistrates Court Case number 8664 of 2009 filed on 17th December 2009.

For the second year in a row, Leopards had a case in court that had been filed in December!

It appears that Magelo and Ekhalie didnt take part in the proceedings and Ochiel and Asembo (who acted as the lawyer for Ochiel and group) had a walk over!

The Ochiel group has also had some positives and negatives.

I will start with the negatives. They immediately changed the uniform of the team from the hoops to the stripes rubbing many fans the wrong way. They also changed the crest of the club and reverted to the motto OBULALA NA MAANI which means UNITY IS STRENGTH.

The reasons that were advanced were that they did not want the former office to continue to reap benefits from their unsold merchandise. What a hollow reason! Since Ochiel was legally recognized as the Chairman and his team as the new officials, all they needed to do was to cite the former team for contempt if they attempted to act as officials.

The club crest had been registered as Trade Mark number 64641 and this was in the name of the club. If any person attempted to use it, then the new officials would have stopped them for infringement.

It was embarrassing to see a club like Leopards play against Banks in a kit that had the JMJ Academy crest! How low could we sink to borrow kit from an Academy when we had our own kit!

The team also changed the website of the team from www.afcleopards.net to www.afcleopards.co.ke yet we all know a website belongs to a team and not an individual. It appears that the former officlas tried to sell the new team the www.afcleopards.net website which brings to question whether there was any handing over to the new team.

The other negative is that the team started looking as a dependent unit when it couldn't raise tickets to Ethiopia to attend the match against Banks. Politician Cyrus Jirongo, a former Leopards Chairman had to step in and donate tickets to the team. This was adverse publicity as it showed Leopards to be still a begging club.

The other major beef i have with the Ochiel group was the change of the constitution. This was once again done in a rather secretive manner unlike the change of the constitution of the country that was open to committee of experts who received views from a sections of Kenyans and even had sessions to discuss it before it was voted upon.

It is this constitution that could have been the savior of Leopards but it threatens the very existence of the club.

There were also claims of players not being paid but this has been a perennial problem at Leopards and is not a failure of Ochiel alone.

Now the positives.

After previous Leopards shirt sponsors such as Crown Paints, Bulkolin and Cyprerr, Ochiel was able to get a sponsorship deal with Mumias Sugar. This would save the club the embarrassment of having players who don't get paid.

It is however not clear what sort of sponsor Mumias Sugar is. If is is a shirt sponsor, then the powers they are exerting over the club are enormous. It was shocking to see Ochiel waving cheques from Mumias Sugar addressed directly to some players. Surely the right thing to do is to get Mumias Sugar to pay the club the monies and let the monies be disbursed by the club. This risks the club being seen by people as Mumias Sugar FC coming back through AFC Leopards. There are further rumours that Leopards will be expected to play some home matches in Mumias.

There is a saying that 'maskini hana chake' so it is expected that Mumias Sugar can wield the big stick at Leopards.

Hopefully, the guarantee of the players salaries being met will make the club perform better this season. Caution to the fans though Even Mumias Sugar FC didn't win the League despite all the backing from Mumias Sugar (except of course the time they were in a fiasco of bribing some team to win the chanpionship!). Ingwe Fans have to be patient.

With impending court room battles, Ingwe Fans also have to re-strategise.

The solution is not merely replacing Ochiel. In fact, the solution is to address the structures that are lacking at the club.

Fans have to play a bigger role in the club without necessarily being on the Executive Committee or Governing Council whatever you want to call it.

As it is, Leopards is still a village team. There is no difference between Leopards with Ebukwala United as they both lack facilities such as a stadium, a training pitch in the proportions of Carrington, a club bus, club vehicles for its coaches etc. Leopards is stuck to the 1960s when the world is moving towards 2030.

No team can continue to survive by the grace without putting in any effort. The Kshs. 15,000,000 sponsorship from Mumias Sugar is peanuts. If the team sold 20,000 season tickets at Kshs. 1,000 each for the fifteen home matches, it would raise Kshs. 20,000,000 which is more than the figure given by Mumias Sugar.

The Ochiel group or whichever group takes over have to think this big.

The teams needs to broaden its horizons from merely being a Luhya outfit and try to be all encompassing. Gor Mahia, who are our 'in laws' and big rivals attract all manner of fans such as Daniel Ndambuki (Churchill) and this isn't as a result of harping on about being  Lakeside team. When Gor Mahia couldnt get a stadium to play in, they went to Thika whilst Leopards went to Mumias! Who is being visionary here?

It used to be that Leopards led and Gor could only follow. Now Gor has a Facebook Branch which is validly recognized by the office and Leopards have also started a Face Book Branch which isn't recognized by the Ochiel office! Fans have to think broader than that! A Supporters Trust will be the best vehicle for fans to voice their thoughts rather than the usual branch structure that was conceived in the 1970s.

I am aware that some fans of Leopards are planning to start a Supporters Trust called CLAWS. Club of Leopards Avid Wise Supporters.

To me, this is the future. Fans can elect themselves and have a Chairman and other officials who can then engage whatever group that is in office. This idea of having someone parachuted into office as people were trying to do for Josiah Otupa and other officials who may be found on the Ochiel group.

This Trust should seek to get as many as 30,000 members. Surely from a country of 40,000,000 Kenyans we can raise that number of fans. This can be fans who do not even go to the stadium but who can give something back to the club. They can attend meetings and even vote by postal ballots on decisions affecting the club.

The Trust can keep the current office on toes and even start campaigns if they are unhappy. At Manchester United, the MUST (Manchester United Supporters Trust) led a big green and gold campaign dubbed LOVE UNITED, HATE GLAZER. At Liverpool, the Spirit of Shankly Trust also had a campaign that recently saw the exit of the Americans Hicks and Gillette.

If someone can lead the Trust well, then he is fit for the office of Chairman of Leopards. Let there be a training ground for officials.

Let the Trust have fans from all sides. Ochiel supporters, Magelo supporters, Kituyi supporters and any others whom I haven't mentioned but who wish to be Chairman or well, Chairwoman! Let us get our club back to the days when it could roar and claw any team.

Let us realize that fans can support different Chairmen but still be part of the team unity. For Facebook Branch fans to think they are the only fans is to think narrowly. For Mlango Kubwa fans to think they are the only fans, it is a big joke.

Let us remember that even as some of use fight Ochiel he has support from some other branches. How do we engage these branches and help them understand that we can not just be YES men when something is wrong. And they can also make us understand that we cannot just be NO men when good things are happening.







Leopards belongs to all of us.

Once we come together in a Supporters Trust, then we can be the Parliament that watches over the Executive.

Then we can insist on the structures that we need and make it an orderly club. Not a club that each December has a case filed in court as was proved when Ochiel went back to court in December 2010 and filed case against Asembo in Chief Magistrates Case number 8094 of 2010 making it the third year in a row that a case is filed in December involving Leopards.

Amusingly, whilst Asembo had taken the Magelo team to court in 2009 as noted above, this time he was in the same court arguing that the court wasn't the best place for Ochiel to take a dispute. Some Ingwe Fans thinking this was the best way to get rid of Ochiel didn't see the contradiction and cheered on.

Ingwe Fans have to be more far sighted!

Then we can insist on what we want to see. A club not a team! The proud AFC Leopards Sports Club not some team which changes everything about it when we all know that a Leopards never changes its spots.

If these issues were resolved, Leopards will be a better team. With facilities, with Season Tickets, with merchandise that fans can buy, with an office that fans can visit, with an auditor who can be asked questions during an AGM, with a membership directory so that if you want to campaign for any position you know how to reach the members, with an elaborate electoral system so that you don't have people giving one day notice for elections forgetting that the club has fans even in Mombasa who need to make travel arrangements to travel or to seek posts in the team, with ambitions to get the club back to the glory days when Leopards was feared (or at least known) throughout Africa. With stewards paid for orderly watch over fans at the stadium and to avoid the scenario where a Leopards fan, Frankline, died during the Gor match in October 2010 and nothing has been done to assist his family.

Those are the problems that need to be resolved. Not mere change of officials who then inherit a terrible system and we blame them for ruling us like that.

Please join those progressive fans who want to make Leopards get its CLAWS back!

'Faction X' In Two Factions

According to the Facebook page of one of Kenya's leading sports websites Michezo Afrika, this is the news on the Elections that had been called by the anti-Ochiel faction of Leopards:-
















"Mr. Winston Kituyi has been declared the winner of the Chairman's post. Earlier confusion marred the process as both camps declared they had won. According to official results released by the returning officer Mr. Micheal Meso, Kituyi garnered 869 votes with Mr. Ole Magelo managing 610."

It appears that there were some problems during the elections that had been convened by Robert Asembo and which for the purposes of this post we shall call 'Faction X' of Leopards.

It was not immediately clear under what constitution the elections were held and whether the election modalities of the constitution that was used were followed.

Fans had expressed disquiet and disbelief at the turn of events and a cursory look at some of the comments on the AFC Leopards Facebook Branch links show that there wasnt clarity in the way the elections were held.

The short notice that was given for the elections did not afford the 'Electoral Board' if we may call it that led by Michael Meso to print out ballot papers. It appears that the infamous mlolongo system of elections was the one used by Leopards!

It was also not clear whether those who voted were members of the club, who had paid membership fees to either the club or the branch to which they were affiliated.

Candidates were also not given enough time to declare their interest in the elective posts and campaign and many of the fans who attended will be hard pressed to point out the respective manifestos of the candidates who were standing and whether hey can be expected to fulfil the pledges, if any, that they made.

Meanwhile, 'Faction Y' of Leopards led by Julius Ochiel boycotted the elections as expected and it is expected that they will insist that they are in still charge of the club and that the elections held today are a sham.

'Faction X' will not do themselves any favours if they are involved themselves in a dispute splitting down the two protagonists in that faction, that is Magelo and Kituyi.

It is is expected that there may be a battle at the Registrar of Societies when either faction tries to assert its right to control the club.

More updates will follow the developments at the club.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Magelo Reacts

Ochiel Reacts





















Confusion Reigns

The Magistrates Court yesterday gave a ruling in which it upheld the Preliminary Objection filed by Robert Asembo, the beleaguered Secretary General of Leopards who is estranged from Julius Ochiel, the beleaguered Chairman of Leopards.

Consequently, the orders granted by the court stopping the elections that had been called by Asembo automatically lapsed.

It is still not clear if the orders by the court mean that Asembo has been confirmed as the Secretary General as that issue has not been canvassed before the court. The curt has only made a ruling on issues of technicalities by indicating that Ochiel was wrong to use the name of AFC Leopards as a Plaintiff instead of using the name of the elected officials and noting that they were suing on behalf of Leopards.

The court also upheld the objection by Asembo that Ochiel should not have filed the case in court when there are other avenues for resolving disputes such as following the constitution of the society.

It is not clear what is the current constitution of Leopards though a version that appears credible is available for download here

There has been confusion created by Asembo and Ochiel on what is the correct constitution with a section of the press quoting Ochiel as stating that after the Special General Meeting in June last year, Asembo filed the wrong version of the Constitution that had been passed by those members who attended the SGM.

Following the ruling, Asembo gave the following press interview:-




The same is also available on this link.

Asembo also placed an advert on page 23 of the Saturday Nation edition of 15th January 2011 calling for an impromptu Annual General Meeting on 16th January 2011.




















Rumours are however awash that seeking to upstage Asembo, Ochiel also called an impromptu Meeting on 15th January 2011 and filled the 'vacant' positions of Vice Chair (Mr. Dan Ameyo), Secretary (Ms. Catherine Omanyo) and Organising Secretary (Mr. Kizito Temba).

It appears that the problems of Leopards are far from over.

This may lead to a scenario where two factions will be claiming the leadership of Leopards and the controversy may as well be headed to court once again.

It is not the first time that Leopards has been bedevilled with this kind of shenanigans. As Ingwe fans will remember, in 2002 there were similar scenarios when Jack Makhanu was suspended as Secretary though he called for elections. There were conflicting dates given for elections and for some time, this led to further deterioration of the Leopards stranglehold on the Premier League. Makhanu was replaced by Steven Mutoro in an acting capacity, which is the same thing that has happened now with Asembo supposedly replaced by Omanyo.


















There is a saying that those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat the same mistakes.

In their eagerness to change officials by ejecting Alex Ole Magelo and replacing him with Julius Ochiel and thereafter probably replacing Ochiel with another Chair, Leopards fans end up just having a change of musical chairs.

It is not rocket science that all these officials are merely interested in posts for posts sake without setting in place a sustainable structure that they can bequeath the fans who crave for some semblance of order.

Each Leopards office has had some positives and negatives though some offices have had negatives outweighing positives. Fans should heed the comments of CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye who observed that

"While other clubs are recruiting and preparing for the new season, AFC Leopards’ officials are busy fighting in court over something I can describe as a carcass because the club neither has structures, facilities, money nor even players. They should instead put their efforts together and ensure that they perform well this season."

The key word here is structures (not carcass)!

Why for instance do both sets of officials have to call for elections that are not all inclusive but which will most probably be attended by their supporters only? If Leopards was a civilised club like Real Madrid, the election system will be very open. According to the election rules of Madrid, which can be accessed here, the process is supervised by an Electoral Commission appointed from the fans.

"The Electoral Board is in charge of preparing and developing the President's and the Board of Directors' electoral processes." (Article 56 of the Real Madrid Statutes).

The Electoral Board must determine the start of the period in which candidacies may be presented and the dates in which voting may take place, all in accordance with the Statutes.

The last General Assembly determined the Electoral Board should be presided by D. Jose Maria Paz CasaƱe (Member no.84); that its Secretary should be D. Juan Raul Castellanos Tarrago (Member no.76,241); and that other Members should be D. Luis Alejandro Huerta Calvo (Member no.61,620), D. Guillermo Marcos Guerrero (Member no.69,485) and D. Lorenzo Alvarez Martin (Member no.73,135).

Substitute members of the Electoral Board are: D. Eugenio Teodoro Garcia Salvador (Member no.28), D. Alfredo Revuelta de la Puente (Member no.10,526), D. Angel Labrador Sanchez-Brunete (Member no.26,978), D. Mario Cifuentes Jimenez (Member no.30,264) and D. Florencio Vicente Martin (Member no.46,347).

The club even has a transition clause:-

"The President and his Board will continue in office until the new President takes up his new office." (Article 39)

The club also requires those aspiring to be officials to have some certain qualifications:-

Section B of Article 40 states the requirements candidates must meet.

“1.- Must be Spanish.
2.- Must be of legal age and able to work.
3.- Must be aware of the need to meet his or her social duties.
4.- Must be a club Member of ten or more uninterrupted years in order to become President, and five uninterrupted years to become a Member of the Board of Directors.
5.- Must not be subject to sanctions that may prevent him or her from taking on managerial duties.
6.- Must not have managerial duties at other football clubs, or be an active player, referee, coach or member of a technical staff of a football club upon presenting his or her candidacy.
7.- Must provide a bank guarantee that meets the terms and conditions established by the 10/1990 Law and other applicable dispositions."

Even more importantly, the club requires an official to deposit a bank guarantee to lock out busy bodies:-

According to the Statutes, Candidacies must present a bank guarantee, the sum of which has been established at 57,389,000€ (15% of the 2008/09 budget).

I particularly liked the clause about someone vying for the top position being a member of the club for at least ten years. This avoids the idea of parachuted Chairmen like Ochiel.

Of course, looking at the constitution of Leopards whose link has been posted above, it is clear that the drafters of the constitution did not consult widely before the constitution was written and then passed.

For instance, the constitution includes a logo that was brought into office by the Ochiel group whilst there was never any consensus amongst the fans on which logo they wished to adopt.

It is laughable that the constitution refers to the club as Abaluhya Football Club Leopards Sports Club when it is common knowledge that this is not the name of the club following the change of name that took place on 16th November 1980 or thereabouts.

Issues of membership are also dealt with very casually. There are monthly subscriptions of Standard Membership which begs the question: What happens if one stops making monthly contributions? Why does the club need to have different categories of membership? Aren't all Leopards fans equal? Why don't those who wish to pay a higher sum get the opportunity to do so without it being tied to some form of higher VIP status in the club? What happens to those Life Members of the club who paid Kshs. 1,000 in the 1980s?

There are other concerns that I am sure Leopards fans will be ale to raise with time.

In the meantime, it is quite laughable that the motto of Leopards is stated as OBULALA NA MAANI (Unity is Strength) when disunity and confusion reigns in the club.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Players, New Coach

Story by Fred Maingi

Former Tusker FC striker and former Harambee Stars striker Augustine Etemesi has been drafted in the 26-man AFC leopards squad that will feature in the coming Kenya Premier League (KPL) season.

Other new signings named yesterday by the club after a two weeks intensive trials include former West Kenya Sugar Goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, Hashim Mukhwana (Posta Rangers), Israel Ogude (Red Berets), Nicholas Muyoti, Laurent Tumba, Evans Wandera, Hugo Nzoka (Sofapaka FC) and Silas Aluvisia from Sony Sugar .

Other new signings include Emmanuel Tostao(Mathare Youth), Brian Masiolo(Western Stima), Edward Seda, John Amboko, and Evalistus Shamala .

The club has however released over 15 players to join other clubs. They include Goalkeeper Lawrence Webo, Wellington Murwahi, Franklin Osama, Harry Gentle, Shaban Abdulrahman, Samuel Misse, Umekwe Ekene, and Gregory Nyapala. The fate of James 'Junior Kombo, Paul Ojiambo, Ken Omunyinyi still remains a mystery as club officials declined to state their status.

Players who have been retained include Goalkeeper Barnabas Tiema, Milton Milimo, Martin Imbalambala, Edwin Wafula, and Benard Mangoli. Others are Demonde Selenga, Itubu Imbem and Joseph Okumu respectively.

The club secretariat has announced they are yet to finalise with the release of Evalistus Shamala, John Amboko, Masiolo, Aluvisia and Tostao with their former clubs.

The club recently named a new technical bench led by head coach Robert Bollen from Belgium. Three former officials led by logistics manager Gilbert Selebwa, Deputy coach Daniel”Dino”Kitavi and team manager Tonny Lidonde have been shown the door on mysterious circumstances.

However, suspended secretary General Robert Asembo termed the new developments as null and void as the term of office for those who made the changes had expired last month.He said unless elections are held in a day to be determined by the Milimani Commercial court on Friday afternoon,nobody should issue any directive in the club.

The 26 players named on Monday by the club secretariat comprise of; Goalkeepers-Brian Tiema, Patrick Matasi.

Defenders- Milton Milimo, Martin Imbalambala, Edwin Wafula, Hashim Mukhwana, Douglas Okumu Odhiambo, Edigar Wando, Evalistus Shamala, John Amboko,Israel Ogude

Midfielders- Benard Mangoli, Nicholas Muyoti, Emmanuel Tostao, Abraham Cokie, Edward Seda, Laurent Tumba,Evans Wandera,Augustine Etemesi.

Strikers- Hugo Nzoka,Paul Odhiambo, Demonde Selenga, Joseph Okumu, Brian Masiolo , Sailus Aluvisia.

Technical Bench members- Robert Matano(Technical Director),Noah Wanyam(Technical Advisor), Robert Bhollen(Head coach), Elliud Omukuywa(Assistant coach), Benard Onyango(Team Manager), Haggai Malenya(Assistant team manager), Patrick Ngusale(Team Doctor).







Link

In other reports

AFC Leopards have appointed a Belgian coach as the executive made an overhaul of the technical bench.

Robert Bhollen has joined the country's former power house from the Nairobi based Jean Marie Julian (JMJ) Sports Academy.

Bhollen will be deputised by Eliud Omukuywa while former Mumias Sugar FC marksman Bernard Onyango has been appointed as the new team manager to be assisted by Haggai Malenya.

Other changes announced by the club acting secretary general Catherine Omanyo indicate that Patrick Madahane Ngusale will be the team doctor.

Robert Matano survived the axe wielded by the Leopards administration on the technical bench to maintain his position of the Technical Director.

Ex international and AFC Leopards ace Noah Wanyama- father to Italy based Serie A side Inter Milan midfielder McDonald Mariga has landed the newly created position of Technical Advisor.

Three senior technical bench members were sent packing as the club executive led by Chairman Julius Ochiel tried to flex their powers.

Those who have been “kicked” out include Gilbert Selebwa who has been the logistics manager,Tony Lidonde (Team Manager) and assistant coach Daniel 'Dino” Kitavi.

Speaking at the teams training ground at Nairobi's Kabete Technical,Ochiel said the changes made are final and binding and called upon the club supporters to rally behind the newly elected technical bench.

However, suspended club secretary general Robert Asembo dismissed the new changes terming them as null and void.He said the new developments are not binding since the term of office for those who made the announcement ended last month.

Asembo said unless elections are conducted, the changes cannot hold water and called upon the Leopards soccer fraternity to ignore.

''By making those announcements, Asembo added,it means elections for the club have lost value and meaning. Those changes are not binding since those who made the announcement on Monday are not supposed to be in office in the first place since elections are yet to be conducted. They are there illegally. What they have done is null and void and I do appeal to club members to ignore them”

Ochiel thanked sponsors Mumias Sugar company for their support adding that they have remained focussed and steadfast in their unwavering support.

The chairman assured club members that the team will win the Kenya Premier League(KPL) title this year and pleaded with club members to support the team and the playing unit. He said the team to feature for the club this season will be named on Tuesday.

According to analyst, the new changes are set to create further split in the team.Over 100 players who are on trials were spotted today at the Kabete Technical ground.

Among those who were seen going through their paces included former Sofapaka striker Hugo Nzoka, Brian Masiolo from Western Stima, Israel Ogude (Red Berets), Laurent Tumba (Sofapaka), Silas Aluvisia (Sony Sugar), John Amboko(Nairobi City Stars), Wycliffe Ogola (Thika Bidco), and Nicholas Muyoti from Sofapaka among others.

From the Nation

Former local soccer academy coach Robert Bollen is the new AFC Leopards coach.

Bollen, who worked with Jean Marie and Juliana (JMJ) Academy, will be assisted by Eliud Omukuywa, an uncompromising defender in days at the defunct Kakamega outfit Motcom FC.

Robert Matano retains his post as a team manager, while MacDonald Mariga’s father, Noah Wanyama is the club’s technical advisor.

The Brazil-trained Belgian was on Monday unveiled in absentia, as the new recruits trained under Matano.

“We want to have a formidable side this season. In the end of the transfer window, we want to have a team of 26 senior players and four from the junior team,” said Matano.

Last season, several players from JMJ Academy were been loaned Leopards for one year, making the academy the centre for talent.

Bernard Onyango has replaced Tony Lidonde as the club’s team manager and will be assisted by Haggai Malenya.

AFC Leopards who finished 12th last season, laid off five senior players ahead of the new season.

Among those dropped is veteran goalkeeper Lawrence Webo, Frankline Osama, Gregory Nyapala, William Mafavi and Ken Omunyini.


And from the Leopards office


Technical Bench




1

Robert Bollen

Head Coach



2

Eliud Omukuyia

Asssistant Head Coach



3

Patrick Ngusale

Team Doctor



4

Benard Bosco Onyango

Team Manager



5

Haggai Malenya

Assistant Team Manager



6

Robert Matano

Technical Director



7

Noah Wanyama

Technical Advisor









Players




1

Barnabas Tiema

Goalkeeper



2

Patrick Musotsi Matasi

Goalkeeper



3

Milton Milimo

Defender



4

Martin Imbalabala

Defender



5

Edwin Simiyu Wafula

Defender



6

Hashim Mukhwana Malema

Defender



7

Douglas Okumu Odhiambo

Defender



8

Edigar Wachiya Waudo

Defender



9

Evalistus John Shamala

Defender



10

John Amboko

Defender



11

Israel Gideon Ogude

Defender



12

Benard Mangoli Wanyama

Midfielder



13

Nicholas Muyoti Ndubi

Midfielder



14

Emmanuel Tostao

Midfielder



15

Abraham Cokie

Midfielder



16

Edward Seda

Midfielder



17

Laurent Tumba

Midfielder



18

Evans Wandera

Midfielder



19

Augustine Etemesi

Midfielder



20

Hugo Nzioka

Striker



21

Paul Odhiambo

Striker



22

Selenga Mutitya

Striker



23

Itubu Imbem

Striker



24

Joseph Okumu

Striker



25

Brian Masiolo

Striker



26

Sailas Aluvisia

Striker









Note





The club is yet to finalise with the releases of the following players:

1

Evalistus John Shamala




2

John Amboko




3

Brian Masiolo




4

Sailas Aluvisia




5

Emmanuel Tostao