It’s the Kets 2011! The complete review of the past Leopards season
Ingwe Fan magazine editor Emmanuel Mketu delivers his end-of-the-year awards in respect of the AFC Leopards season that has just ended. It is a fresher look at ‘The Den’ as we call it and brings up all the good and bad memories of 2011 starting with …
Thankfully the plans to unveil the banner ‘JESUS SATISFIED 5,000 WITH 5 LOAVES AND 2 FISH, JAN KOOPS SATISFIED MILLIONS WITH 11 LEOPARDS” never saw the light as it was deemed too insensitive to the Leopards fans religious sensibilities. These were fans who prayed before each match!
So coming after the fans of traditional arch rivals Gor Mahia had been attacked at Luanda, the “LUANDA DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE” banner was as insensitive as it could get but easily one of the best banners of the season. For that day, the Leopards disciplined Gor on the pitch running away with a 3-0 victory.
Sometimes the in game entertainment can be dull with the loudspeakers simply blaring out some mournful tunes or some circumcision songs. So it was refreshing to see the players join the repertoire of entertainers the best of which was Patriqs Matasi who held the ball and smiled at the fans and waved. The Leopards Facebook Branch made a profile picture out of that one and even Ghost Mulee laughed at the gesture saying he had never seen anything like that in football! That’s is Leopards – giving you what you have never seen!
Jan Koops. Yes, there may have been those hugs with Bernard Onyango on the touchline for many a goal but the most memorable one was when he started slamming the Nyayo Stadium turf repeatedly after the Leopards scored the third goal against Sofapaka in the return leg. For a coach who had delivered this team from grass to grace, this was a reminder that we wouldn’t hit the grass again for the rest of the season.
When handed the jersey number 50, Jimmy Bagaye allegedly said he would score 50 goals for the Leopards. He scored two in the Premier League and a few against Kenyatta Hospital. It is time to change Mike Baraza’s jersey number to 99.
The Sony goalkeeper was a character out of a horror movie when the leopards faced Sony at Nyayo. He went down with the frequency of a Koinange Street girl, and in the end took the match to almost 98 minutes proportions. The ball would be at the Leopards goal and he would go down once again to stop the match though he was a whole 100 yards away. But when the Leopards suffered a last minute goal, he sprang up and ran the length of the field to the leopards D and showed the fans a few cartwheels to the chagrin and utter disgust of the Leopards fans. What an idiot!
Best Opposing Fans
KCB. The whole ZERO of them kept quiet at the home match as the Leopards fans took over and cheered to their hearts fill.
Best Unofficial Merchandise
There was a host to choose from: the makarapas, the Ingwe Limited, the bandanas, the Ingwellets t-shirts, but the very best was the Ingwe Fan magazine. Providing detailed information about the club and especially the full results of the league matches between Leopards and Gor, I took my hats off to the editorial team for that dedication. There were also the benefactors of the project including Geoffrey Luyuku who made sure that the young at heart at least got to know the history of the team in detail.
You can bet with your friends about a Leopards victory but please do not say you will strip to your underwear if a certain player scores… because he will and you will!
Most Creative Headline
There were a number including the one that said ‘Catfights at AFC’ that appeared in the Daily Nation. Or the one by Trevor Mbati saying ‘Zico Is A Coward – Jan Koops!’. However, the one that stole it all was the one that said ‘Until Gor Score’ which appeared in the Standard on the day that Gor were baptized FC 98 after their match had eight added minutes, a red card for the opposing player and a goal.
Best Jersey Name
“LIKHANIAFU” was a hit as was “ESHIOMBO” but in the end we had the jersey that simply said “BA’MPYENGA”
The fans at Leopards are known to come up with something new all the time to make the experience at the stadium worth the while. There was the giant flag that was unfurled during the matches. The flag was carried all the way to Mombasa and became the most travelled flag! There was also the Poznan celebration by the fans of the goals. However, the best of them all was simply the chant ‘INGWEE! INGWEE! INGWEE!’. Simplicity is always sometimes the way to go.
Most Ironic Chant
Sometimes, Ironic isn’t as Alanis Morisette thought, but there was the chant that saw Leopards fans sing, ‘Zico Must Go!’ as the Leopards rolled over Gor. Commentators weren’t sure if they meant his then position at Harambee Stars or whether it was a sympathetic sharing of feelings with Gor fans, but you had a feeling that a few Gor fans joined in on this one.
Though the Haka of Injaka was hilarious, the best video hands down came about when Leopards were having a bad run of form. Hitler seemed to join in on the calls for the sack! Absolutely hilarious but at the same time, a few of its predictions came true
There were a pick of goals that were scored by Leopards players this year that were absolute beauties! There was the goal that Collins Kisuya scored against Tusker when he connected from a great corner routine and smacked in the ball from a near impossible angle, there was also his curling freekick in the comeback against Nairobi City Stars. But the pick of the crop, was hands down a goal that Kisuya played part in but didn’t score it.
AFC were leading one nil against Gor on 2nd of October when Kisuya collected a ball that had been carelessly left hanging by a Gor defender, he beat the defender for pace and then released a cross that could only be made by a person of chameleon eyes. It was pin point and breathtaking to watch. As if on intuition, Mike Baraza was between two Gor players but he got the ball and smacked it in beating Ja-Goal all the way! What a goal. It was a goal that made the game safe and ensured Baraza had scored in two consecutive derbies and though he got a yellow card for celebrating before the Gor fans, no one, absolutely no one cared!
One match stood out as the best match this season and that was the game against Mathare United that ended in a two-all draw. The Leopards were down two nil at half time and the game seemed lost for all intents and purposes, if it was the Leopards of the first leg. But there were not just Leopards, these were the troops of Koops! The pulled one back and then scored a leveler. You felt that if there was any more time, they would even have won it. But the match had everything: it had a penalty, it had a goalie howler, it had an own goal and a well worked corner goal. There was despair, the elations and the expectation. For once, you always knew that even when two goals down, we could still win it.
This came courtesy of 89:59 who stated that Leopards was an average of position 8.03 in the league this season. To quote him: As for AFC, your team, their average position is 8.03 and final is 5. That means AFC were confined in mid-table positions for long and their rise to position 5 was aided by a rich vein of form towards the end of the season. One Gor fan retorted: Ufala utaacha!
Best Match Report
Sending a text to someone at the stadium and asking him scores can be frustrating. Sometimes you could get the occasional, ‘EKK’ as your reply. But the best was during the Leopards match against Congo United when brief posts appeared on the Facebook Page with words such as: Barry Red! Matasi Swallows! Mbakaya Off!
Sometimes a loss can be a devasatiting thing to happen to any coach and when the Supersport cameras were rolling and Nick Yakhama was being asked how he felt after the match against Thika United in Mumias, Yakhama was shattered nerves as he said: I am happy that we lost.
If that doesn’t get you fired as a coach, nothing else can. There was also the Pharis Kamau quote in HardBall where he stated: Revenge is no longer a bitch; it is a Leopard!
Whilst Gor suffered the 3-0 humiliation, Leopards fans were busy singing ‘Musiwe kama Gor Mahia, wanaofungwa bao, na wanarusha mawe!’ which basically implored people not to be like Gor fans who threw stones after a goal is scored against them. The same month, the Leopards fans tasted a taste of their medicine as their fans threw stones after Gor scored a goal against them in the FKL Cup. Karma is a bitch.
The best coach is of course, as always, the fans. Any time a player missed a chance the impatient fans would start asking for the substitution of the player and when the player who had just gotten in fluffed a chance, the fans would be beside themselves in laughing.
3rd Mike Baraza.
2nd Bernard Mangoli.
1st Jonas Nahimana. Nahimana was phenomenal during the season where he started off by scoring on his debut against Sofapaka. It was a goal that gave Leopards hope though they ultimately lost that match. But his presence on the pitch was assured and he diverted many attacking threats from the opposing players. He also netted a penalty against Chemelil and scored a beautiful goal against Ulinzi. Yes, a defender was in the top three scorers for Leopards! It was fitting that the last kick of the match this season was by Jonas as he tried to curl a freekick against KCB. A player for half a season but a player for all seasons!