NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3- Forced to leave Chemelil Sugar under a cloud of controversy, Nick Yakhama led his new side, AFC Leopards to a welcome victory in the Kenya Premier League (KPL) on Tuesday.
Laurent Tumba and Emmanuel Tostao were the toast for the 13-time domestic club champions who moved to sixth in the table after seeing off Bandari 2-0 at Nyayo National Stadium.
“I am happy but not satisfied. The boys played well but the stamina levels went down in the second half and its something we have to work on. The only change I made was to ask the boys to possess the ball more and avoid losing possession,” Yakhama told SuperSport.com.
In another televised match at the same venue, plucky Rangers held resurgent champions Ulinzi to reclaim third spot in the KPL table.
Veteran striker Mike Baraza gave the military men an eighth minute lead before Rangers skipper, Pascal Ochieng equalised from the spot on 30 minutes and that’s how the match ended.
After losing to another Mombasa side Congo United last week in an outcome that saw the demanding Ingwe dispense with the services of Robert Matano at the helm of the technical bench, Yakhama took only eight minutes to jump in joy from the touchline on his debut.
Tumba controlled fellow Congolese born Hugo Nzangu’s cross to drill a low effort to the far corner to give Leopards the lead before Emmanuel Tostao gobbled up a bobbling ball in the area in the 32nd to seal victory.
Yakhama, who saved Leopards from relegation two seasons ago, was fired by Chemelil’s management a week earlier amid charges of impropriety when allegations of an affair with an underage school girl surfaced.
The conclusion of round nine of KPL leaves Tusker, who were held to a barren stalemate by Karuturi Sports still top on 22 three clear of KCB with Rangers a further point adrift. Faltering Western Stima, who lost to ten-man Sony in Awendo for a second successive defeat hold fourth (16) with Ulinzi, AFC and Gor Mahia all locked on 15.
On Wednesday, basement side City Stars welcome 2009 champions, Sofapaka who will feature in the CAF Confederations Cup third round return leg tie against Congo’s St Eloi Lupopo over the weekend.
A win for Sofapaka who were held to a scoreless deadlock by KCB over the weekend, need to win by more than three clear goals to overhaul Thika United from eighth place since both will be on 14.