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AFC Leopards: We are still united in KPL

BERNARD-MANGOLINAIROBI, Kenya, March 4 – AFC Leopards is still in one piece and raring to reclaim their place at the apex of Kenyan football.

This was the message from The Den on Wednesday after striking players resumed training and even beat Talanta FC 1-0 in a friendly in the afternoon.

After a period of uncertainty with rumoured defection to the rival Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League and other reports alleging the team had split into three entities, head coach Zradvko Logarusic declared they were ready to maul the competition once the suspended Kenyan Premier League (KPL) resumes.

“We are still adapting and we need a bit more time in training and that’s the reason we are playing friendly matches to enable us identify our mistakes. So much has changed since I left but it’s a new beginning.

“Kenyan football is becoming better and competitive because we have four clubs chasing the title. I can’t wait for the derby against Gor Mahia I hope we will be ready by then,” Logarusic who guided Gor to 2012 GOtv Shield and KPL runners up told Capital Sport after the friendly win at Kasarani Stadium.

Logarusic, who settled for a barren draw against Chemelil Sugar on his debut in the team’s KPL opener declared that he will be going for the treble including guiding the team to their first league title in 17 years.

His assistant Yussuf Chippo who has been with the team since the beginning of the season, said they are scheduled to play more build up matches since they are behind schedule.

“It was a major setback after the players went on strike but I’m impressed from what I have seen today. Playing more matches will enable us assess our players ahead of the premier league.

“The boys played very well in our league match against Chemelil bearing in mind we started pre-season late after a long time layoff compared to other teams who started training early so this is our starting lane,” Chippo expressed.

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Leopards journey of reviving up for good performance after last season’s trophy-less debacle faced stumbling blocks after players threw their pre-season into a spin, in a series of go slows, demanding unpaid salary and bonus arrears.

Things turned worse last week when the players boycotted training over three month arrears only to rescind their decision after negotiating with management.

“We have financial problems but as a technical bench and players we met with the management and agreed so the ball is in their court we will continue playing our part in the field. I promise you will not hear the players going on strike,” club Team Manager Willis Waliaula told Capital Sport.

Even as a full house Leopards beat Talanta FC who feature in the parallel FKF PL, club chairman Allan Kasavuli maintained the team has not defected and rubbished reports that they had three different teams.

“We are a KPL club so there is no way that we will play in other league we are just waiting for the stalemate to end. Someone is playing politics with club but what they should know is that AFC is dully registered under society like any other club.

“So the likes of Mathews Opwora who are claiming to run the team should wait next year to vie for the seat but not to distract our plans,” Kasavuli declared.

Meanwhile midfielder Bernard Mang’oli is back at the club after talks with Posta Rangers collapsed.

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