Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Leopards At Hope

The KPL opener at Hope Centre in Kawangware brings together two high-quality sides in hosts Nairobi City Stars (formerly World Hope FC) and AFC Leopards. Both teams having spent time recruiting and preparing and should be rewarded for their investment this season. The domestic form of both clubs has been great, demonstrating their capacity in the local soccer scene hence fans should be in for an entertaining match, not only because of the depth of both squads, but because it is a confrontation between teams with an attachment within Kawangware area - a strong base of AFC fans but also the base of the World Hope’s church Outreach. AFC fans will be itching to balance this out and, they will have no trouble conjuring the isikuti beats, and songs to make sure the men on the pitch know whose house they're in. This guarantees a spectacle. New German coach, Oliver Page is said to be transforming the church side into one of the best teams and thus able to mould together an outstanding squad, who have the potential to lift their first league trophy.

Although City Stars haven't won a title since their Presidents Cup triumph 2 years ago, they have the likes of strikers Jimmy Bagaye and Steve Biko (previously with Gor Mahia), James Thairu and Justus Basweti and Ken Oliech and Arthur Museve; this shows they have depth in all sectors of the field, but will be particularly dangerous in the attack.

The Leopards, on the other hand, are riding a wave of optimism; hence they come to town that evening with sharpened claws buoyed by a fantastic run of form, which has been nothing less than extraordinary. This saw them pull a classy run to finish at the summit of the nationwide; and in front duo Sebastian Muchera and Dennis Mukaisi, they will have arguably the hottest strike partnership honed in the second tier. Muchera provided the spark Leopards' fans were hoping for in the Nationwide. So, if current form is anything to go by, it's going to take a gargantuan effort from the City Stars defenders to halt them in their tracks. Yet despite the free-scoring form, coach Selebwa - believes it's his defenders, too, who are proving to be the foundation for their exemplary completion to the nationwide campaign. “The sturdy, unyielding defending at the back has given us that platform from which to win games," explained Selebwa. One man who is responsible for that resolute defending led by keeper Dan Onyango, Robert Indimuli, Arthur ‘King’ Weyula and Collins Kisuya; their calming presence in the leopards' back has proved the catalyst to their resurgent run. It is important to note that ingwe’s' return to glory has much to do with playmaker Charles Okwemba who will however be absent for this match as he is out on loan to Oman’s El Hilal.

Head to Head Stats

2005/6 KPL

1st Leg AFC Leopards...0 World Hope……1 (Steve Biko)

2nd Leg World Hope…..1 AFC Leopards…0

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