NAIROBI, May 26- Could black magic or ‘Juju’ be the reason why AFC Leopards were electrocuted in the rain by Western Stima 2-0 last Saturday in Kisumu?
Ingwe head coach, Zradvko Logarusic has sensationally claimed they were denied access to the stadium ahead of the match for fear they “would leave Juju” on the pitch a day before local heroes and champions, Gor Mahia took on Muhoroni Youth at the same Moi Stadium venue.
Victor Ochieng’ came off the bench to fire a quick-fire, almost magical double, with blitzing shots from range to boot, to silence Ingwe and halt their three-game winning run as Gor laboured to a 1-0 win over Muhoroni 24 hours later.
The Croat claimed a grounds man loyal to K’Ogalo locked them out of pre-match training leaving his boys with no time to get a feel of the astroturf pitch.
“The management of the stadium refused to give us even 30 minutes of training, as a visiting team we should be allowed to feel the pitch before the match but it was not the case, instead they laughed at us.
“The grounds man refused to take our money; he said we will put some ‘juju’ on the pitch because he is a Gor supporter,” Logarusic lamented following the dispiriting loss.
“KPL should do something, if we are playing in Kisumu we should be allowed train there a day before the match,” he urged.
The use or lack thereof of black magic, locally known as ‘research’ has dogged the sworn enemies for ages and for Logarusic to hint on ‘remote control’ to influence results adds a new twist to the enduring rivalry between the erstwhile ‘in-laws’.
The two giants are yet to face off in the second leg of the ‘Mashemeji Derby’ or might even meet in the GOtv Shield, but despite their hot and cold form, Leopards boast of the bragging rights having come a goal down to pick a point in the first-leg in a 1-1 draw at Nyayo.
The result meant the champions and leaders have not beaten Ingwe in their last four meetings.
K’Ogalo on the other hand are on form this season, having yet to taste defeat unlike their perennial rivals who have won six, drawn three and lost four to occupy fifth on 21 points, 12 behind the defending champions.
“We had fatigue in the last 20 minutes because we arrived at 1 o’clock morning having travelled by bus but our problem is to put the ball behind the net. I tried with two strikers in the first half then the other two and an attacking midfielder in the second but we still couldn’t score.
“I played 4-2-3-1 with Emmanuel Ngama on the left, Jacob Keli on the right, Austine Ikenna front, Lamin Diallo in the middle and two defensive midfielders, Bernard Mang’oli and Musa Mudde but despite that no goals came our way,” the Croat explained.
Leopards, who take on Mathare United on Madaraka Day are facing financial challenges, making it difficult for the players to travel away matches outside Nairobi unless they are given money to cater for their families.
Well wishers and politicians have had to chip in to bail out the team twice against Bandari and Western Stima when players had threatened not to honour the fixture unless their four month salary and bonus arrears are cleared.