NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6- Kenyan Premier League side AFC Leopards has declined an invite from the Zanzibar Football Federation to play at the annual Mapinduzi Cup in January next year, with head coach Stewart Hall instead choosing to focus on building up the side for the new season.
Ingwe resumed training on Monday, barely three weeks after the season ended as Hall who took charge of the team in October seeks to change the fortunes of the club which finished 13th in the just concluded season.
“The coach (Hall) declined to accept that invite and instead said he wants to spend the whole of December with the players as he seeks to implement his philosophy. The earliest we can play any friendly matches is in January,” Oscar Igaida, the AFC Leopards Secretary General told Capital Sports.
The former Azam FC head coach has promised to turn the fortunes of the club which has been dwindling in oblivion, clogged by wrangles and infighting season in season out.
Igaida says the team targets to bring in seven new players as the Briton looks to pump fresh blood for the side’s campaign next season.
“We will beef up all departments as the coach recommends. He has his list of players ready and as the office we will start engaging with the targets. We want to have at least seven new players in the new team. Next season we will be a force to reckon with,” Igaida noted.
Among the players within Leopards’ wish-list is the Western Stima duo of Kenneth Muguna and goalkeeper Gabriel Andika with the two confirming contact from Ingwe.
Meanwhile, the club has officially parted ways with defender Edwin Wafula who only returned to the club in June after leaving earlier in the season for Bandari where he failed to settle down.
Wafula was among the five players suspended by the club in October over allegations of indiscipline, but were pardoned after a hearing with the club’s executive.
While the others, Charles Bruno, Lucas Indeche and Yussuf Juma decided to stay on and fight for a place in the team, Wafula made a decision to leave on mutual consent.
The fifth player, Kepha Aswani who was Ingwe’s top scorer in 2016 with 12 goals will have his hearing with the club on Tuesday evening where he hopes to clear his name.
“It will be all up to the coach to decide whether he will want them in the team or not. For us as an executive, our job is to look at the disciplinary matters,” Igaida affirmed.
In a previous interview with Capital Sports, Hall said he would do a radical surgery on the club to ensure they will be competitive next season after a woeful 2016.
“There is so much we need to change at the club to ensure we are competitive. For a club of AFC’s stature to finish 13th it says a lot about the team. We will look at every department and come up with a plan to ensure we are definitely better next season,” Hall said.