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Leopards’ Yakubu describes Blackberry as toughest opponent

AFC Leopards defender Yakubu Ramadhan during their SPL match against Sofapaka.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

AFC Leopards defender Yakubu Ramadhan during their SPL match against Sofapaka.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, April 14- AFC Leopards defender Yakubu Ramadhan has described Gor Mahia’s forward George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo as the toughest opponent he has faced in his three-month experience in Kenya’s top flight league.

Ramadhan was a January acquisition by Leopards from Ugandan top tier side SC Victoria University who sold him to Ingwe for Sh1million to land his services and he has proved equal to the money forming a formidable wall in front of Lucas Indeche.

The 21-year old has admitted he has found it tough adapting to the Kenyan Premier League while confessing Gor’s Odhiambo was a hard nut to crack when he faced him in March during the Mashemeji Derby.

“He is very fast and reminds me of my Ugandan colleague Emmanuel Okwi. He plays exactly like him and when we played, he gave me a tough time. Up to now, I think he is the toughest opponent I have faced,” Ramadhan told Capital Sports.

“The Kenyan league is tough because the strikers always play with their chest facing in goal. At first, it was hard catching up but with the help of senior players like Masika (Eric) and Emuge (Israel), they helped me to know what to expect and know how the strikers play,” he added.

Leopards have conceded six goals in eight matches, the third lowest count in the league but the former Bright Stars FC academy graduate is still not pleased with the conceding rate.

He believes letting in six goals in eight matches means he is yet to reach his best and said he will only be content when he keeps consecutive clean sheets.

“I am not yet satisfied because I am yet to perform to my climax. I have to work hard and push to maintain my place in the starting team. I am not pleased because we are still conceding. I have to work hard and I will only be happy when we leave the pitch having not conceded a goal,” Ramadhan outlined.

He believes Ingwe can challenge for this season’s SportPesa Premier League crown, but maintains they have to take a match at a time with his sentiments being shared by team mate Kepha Aswani.

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“We have to win every next match and focus on ensuring we play well. It is not easy because all Kenyan teams are tough. But we have to maintain the push,” Ramadhan offered.

“We need to take each challenge as it comes and ensure we focus on the prize. The minimum target is to get within the top eight,” Aswani, the former Thika United striker added.

He has so far scored three goals for the club and hopes by the time the first leg wraps in the next seven matches, he will be able to notch 10 goals as he aims to be among the league’s top scorers.

“Last season, I never performed well but I am glad I have started the 2016 season well. I want to be among the top scorers,” the forward stated.

His best goal scoring season was in 2012 while at Thika when he hit the net 14 times. He hopes to break that record this season with a minimum target of 16 goals this season.

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