NAIROBI, Kenya, June 15- After a troubled life down at the Coast with Bandari FC, defender Edwin Wafula and midfielder Bernard Mang’oli are closing in on a return to AFC Leopards.
The only pending matter for the two to complete their comeback is a compensation agreement between the two clubs.
Leopards head coach Ivan Minnaert has confirmed that the two players are training with the club and their presence will be made legal in the next few days.
The two have been unsettled in Mombasa since relocating after their contracts with Ingwe ended in December last year.
They have had a checkered first leg and always expressed an interest in returning to the den.
“We have officially released them and we are only working on the finer details of paperwork and making an agreement with the club because they both had one-and-a-half years left on their contracts. In the coming days we should finalize,” Bandari FC technical director Edward Oduor told Capital Sport.
Meanwhile, Minnaert has finally acquired his transfer targets in Malian striker Ismaila Diarra and Rwandese left back Emmanuel Imanishimwe, both from his former Rwandese side Rayon Sports.
The Belgian tactician had expressed interest in Diarra even before the June transfer window opened and despite challenges in agreement over a transfer fee and salary; he has worked overtime to ensure the Malian moves over to Kenya.
“I have worked with Diarra in two different clubs and I know what he can do. I understand him very well and he understands me too so he is a huge addition to the team. Also Emmanuel, I have worked with him and is a good player,” Minnaert told Capital Sport.
Imanishimwe’s arrival will be a big boost to Minnaert’s squad especially with the coach lamenting the weakness he experienced on the left side of defense in the first leg with the two he had in Yussuf Juma and the dropped Andrew Diego not being able to play to his desire.
The arrival of the four new players now takes AFC’s count to seven, having already secured Charles Bruno (Sony Sugar), Harun Nyakha (Tusker FC) and Yussuf Suf (Nairobi City Stars).
Leopards had released 14 players at the end of the first leg and the massive clear-out has seen them attract the wrath of the KPL Disciplinary Committee which on Monday ordered the club to pay eight of the released player a cumulative sum of Sh2.1million.
The players to be paid for wrongful dismissal are Solomon Nasio (Sh141, 000), Clement Mata (Sh500, 697), Simon Sikuku (Sh150, 000), Khalid Jumaan (Sh809, 852), Emmanuel Onyancha (Sh120, 000), Daniel Kiptoo (Sh135, 000), Eugene Ambulwa (Sh185, 000) and Kevin Mugunde (KSh105, 000).
Minnaert intends to have a lean squad of only 25 players for the second leg and he remains optimistic the team will be competitive and fight to end an 18-year wait for a league title.
“We are working hard with the players we have and yes, we are growing stronger. Now we have at least two players in every position and that will make the competition strong and in the end the team becomes better,” the coach offered.
Ingwe are placed 11th on the SportPesa Premier League standings on 17 points, 12 shy off leaders Tusker FC.
Elsewhere, Bandari FC have loaned out striker Meshack Karani to Kakamega Homeboyz after he failed to sparkle down at the Coast.
Also, the team has allowed striker Massoud Juma to move and the youngster is set to join Sony Sugar.
Bandari are yet to make any movements in the transfer window as well as securing a new coach after the dismissal of Sheikh Twahir Muhiddin.
“We are working on everything including naming of a new coach and possibly we will have finalized on everything by next week,” Oduor said.
Bandari have disappointed in the first leg with most of the players they acquired in January failing to settle in Mombasa, leaving them to wallow in the bottom half of the standings.