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Minnaert demands more as Leopards keep chase on league title

AFC Leopards head coach Ivan Minnaert has challenged his charges to give more.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

AFC Leopards head coach Ivan Minnaert has challenged his charges to give more.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, March 14 – AFC Leopards head coach Ivan Minnaert has urged winger Clifton Miheso to show his worth in the national football team Harambee Stars by improving his performance.

Minnaert, who joined Ingwe last month from Rwandese side Rayon Sports called on his charges to give more, hinting that he will bolster his squad in the June transfer window to make them competitive enough to challenge for the league title.

The Belgian was speaking to Capital Sport after seeing his side scrape for a point against Chemelil Sugar when the two sides played to 1-1 draw in the fifth round of the SportPesa Premier League.

“There are some players like Miheso who need to do more, he needs to show that he is worth to be in the national team. In our match against Chemelil, he was afraid to go to the ball. He needs to fight until the last moment.

“I feel we never pushed and fought hard. AFC Leopards is a team of warriors and everybody should fight like a warrior. We didn’t play well, Simon Abuko and Lamine Diallo also need to up their game otherwise it will be difficult,” Minnaert explained.

Leopards would have gone top of the standings with maximum points at Chemelil, but against a side they have managed to beat only twice in 12 years, a draw was a welcome result.

For 18 years, Leopards have eagerly waited for a Premier League crown. They came close in 2013 when they finished second, 10 points behind arch rivals champions Gor Mahia but in previous years, Ingwe has roared, but to no success.

However, there is hope in the den this year with a new coach, stable leadership and a financial boost.

-Mathare goes top-

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Mathare United returned to the summit of the standings having beaten Thika United 1-0 at the Thika Sub-County Stadium.

Francis Kimanzi, fresh from bagging the inaugural coach of the month award ensured he was among only three coaches to remain unbeaten so far this season, collecting 11 points from five matches, same as second placed Leopards, who have an inferior goal difference.

Posta Rangers would have been in the same unbeaten category but they suffered their first defeat of the season, going down 2-1 at the Mumias Sports Complex to fellow new comers Kakamega Homeboyz.

Elsewhere, Ulinzi Stars conceded for the first time this season as they drew 1-1 with Western Stima at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru with the Soldiers winless home run continuing.

Coach Robert Matano however remained upbeat his side started the season on a positive note as they are ton taste defeat to remain fifth on nine points.

“We need to improve on our scoring otherwise we are playing well and all departments are doing their best. It is an encouraging start,” the tactician stated.

Tusker and Bandari are fourth and third respectively on 10 points, only separated by goal difference after the Brewers were held to a two-all draw at home by Ushuru FC while the Dockers won 1-0 against Sofapaka.

After winning their season opener against Ushuru 3-1, Batoto ba Mungu have lost four consecutive matches and are third from bottom.

David Ouma’s side suffered a massive exodus at the end of last season due to the club’s financial constraints to see the 2009 champions work with hugely inexperienced players signed from lower tier leagues.

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For Thika, the struggles continue with head coach Moses Irungu yet to pick a win to see his side languish second last in the drop zone.

Thika has only managed two points from two draws and the danger of fighting relegation this season is beginning to play out.

Sony Sugar is perched bottom, having failed to win any of their first five matches, losing four and drawing once.

The weekend loss at home at the hands of Muhoroni Youth put new coach Leonard Odipo under immense pressure.

The two-week international break comes as a relief for Odipo as he will have time to ease the pressure off his shoulders and focus on righting the wrongs that have seen the club dwindle in fortunes.

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