Football Football

Sissoko cleared to play for AFC Leopards

AFC Leopards striker Mousa Sissoko in training alongside coach Ivan Minnaert. PHOTO/COURTESY
AFC Leopards striker Mousa Sissoko in training alongside coach Ivan Minnaert. PHOTO/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 27- AFC Leopards have been handed a major boost with Malian striker Mousa Sissoko finally being granted an International Transfer Certificate (ITC), clearing way to make his debut for the 13-time Kenyan Premier League champions.

Sissoko’s case had been referred to the FIFA players’ status committee after the Malian Federation released the ITC past the July 2 deadline which was the date the Kenyan transfer window closed.

FIFA has now given thumbs up for the player to be registered and he might be in line to make his debut on Saturday when Leopards takes on Kakamega Homeboyz in the GOtv Shield round of 32 at the Mumias Sports Complex.

“We finally got his ITC from Mali and he should be legible to play,” immediate former AFC Leopards Secretary General Asava Kadima informed Capital Sport.

Head coach Ivan Minnaert is happy that he can finally have the goal poacher up for selection as he has been impressive in the club’s friendly matches.

“It’s great we have him. He gives us a lot of options and possibly we can have him on this weekend,” Minnaert offered.

Sissoko will have to fight for a starting place with vice captain Kepha Aswani, Mungai Kiongera as well as youngsters Alfred Wekesa and Jack Bruno who was recently promoted from the club’s junior side.

Minnaert has insisted he will only field players on merit, adding he will not be afraid to give young players a chance if they impress him in training.

In last weekend’s 1-0 win over Sony Sugar, Bruno was handed his debut alongside new signing Joshua Mawira who was snapped up from Nairobi City Stars in the June transfer window.

“It is all about your work in training. Mawira, Bruno, Yussuf all played last weekend because they work hard all week and show they are ready to play. I was impressed with how they played. If they fight, they go into my starting line-up,” Minnaert affirmed.

-GOtv Shield-

AFC Leopards coach Ivan Minneart.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.
AFC Leopards coach Ivan Minneart.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

At the same, the coach says the GOtv Shield tournament is now their number one priority as they aim to play continental football next season.

Ingwe won the domestic cup in 2013 but have failed to pick another diadem in the last two editions and Minnaert is ready to banish those memories with a conquest in 2016.

“We talked about this when I came here and I told them the easiest way to play in CAF is to win the GOtv Shield. At the moment we are not in a good position in the league and so we have to focus so much on the GOtv while at the same time ensuring we do well in the league,” the coach said.

The Belgian tactician says he is under no pressure now at the club especially with the quality of players he has at his disposal and is sure of brilliant results.

In the coming weekend, he hopes to welcome back Mungai Kiongera who was a last minute exclusion in last weekend’s match due to a recurrent ankle injury.

Defender Jackson Saleh is a doubt having landed awkwardly on his knee last week.