NAIROBI, Kenya, July 11 – The Malian duo of Mousa Sissoko from AC Djoliba and Ismaila Diarra from Rwandese side Rayon Sport are expected in the country within the next one week alongside Rwandese left back Emmanuel Imanishimwe, says AFC Leopards head coach Ivan Minnaert.
The three were part of the Belgian coach’s June buys but were not expected to be part of the team until finishing their engagements with their previous clubs.
“Sissoko was supposed to arrive on Monday morning but there was some mix up in his travel ticket so we expect him early Wednesday morning. By the end of the week we should have Emmanuel and Diarra because they were supposed to come after finishing their season with Rayon,” Minnaert told Capital Sport.
Diarra and Imanishimwe helped Rayon clinch the Rwandese domestic cup with Diarra scoring a 90th minute winner last week.
They are expected to strengthen the Leopards side which finally found its spot on Saturday with a huge 4-0 win over Thika United, ending their run of seven matches without a win.
“The future it is going to be brighter. Sissoko, Diarra and Emmanuel are all coming in and then we will have a very competitive team. Step by step we will be better. We cannot expect things to work out immediately but we have to work every day,” the coach said.
He however says he is under no pressure despite a section of Ingwe fans baying for his exit after a spate of unconvincing results.
“I don’t have any pressure. I know we have a good team but we need to work on it and gel it. Saturday was not a perfect result but it was good especially for us to break the bad spell. We played better, like Kiongera was better compared to his first match because we trained together for longer,” Minnaert added.
The three points in Mumias pulled Leopards two spots up to 11th with 20 points and will hope the new wave does not lose its strength as they prepare for an acid test against Mathare United in Nairobi on Saturday.
Being 15 points off leaders Tusker and with 13 matches before the end of the season, Ingwe might be re-adjusting their pre-season targets from winning the league to fighting for probably a top five finish.
Minnaert though says the team will fight for every available point in the remaining 13 games and has called on his new look team to pull in one direction.
Meanwhile, Thika United head coach James Nandwa remains optimistic his boys will bounce back from the embarrassing loss and has hinted at making changes in their next assignment against Western Stima at home.
“It is football and sometimes things go out of hand. Against Leopards, we didn’t have a very good outing and we did not perform as expected. Like our keeper let in two very easy goals which I think he should have done better in. But we have a good team and we will go back, rectify and get better results this weekend,” Nandwa said.
The team is placed third from bottom with 15 points, three shy of the drop zone but Nandwa remains calm his side will successfully wade off the threat of dropping to second tier football.