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AFC Leopards hit with Sikhayi blow

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AFC Leopards defender Dennis Sikhayi heads the ball away in a past Kenyan Premier League match against Nakumatt at the Thika Stadium.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – AFC Leopards’ positive start to the season might be curtailed by a list of injuries with wingback Dennis Sikhayi being the latest victim.

The former Nakuru All Stars and Western Stima player will be out for six weeks after breaking his metatarsal in last weekend’s 2-0 loss at the hands of Chemelil Sugar in Kisumu and he joins Mungai Kiongera who has missed the last two matches with a knee injury.

“We now have to change our strategies and game plans because we also have Marcus (Abwao) and Salim (Abdallah) who both carried injuries from the Chemelil match and we will need a late test to see whether they can play,” AFC Leopards head coach Stewart Hall said.

The team is already without youngster Vincent Oburu who is at the heart of a double signing storm with Ingwe’s arch rivals Gor Mahia and has not been cleared by the Football Kenya Federation to play.

Hall’s charges will be travelling to Mombasa this weekend where they will host Muhoroni Youth as they seek to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Chemelil.

The team will fly to the Coastal town on the coach’s request in a bid to mitigate fatigue, having played three tough matches within seven days last week.

AFC Leopards defender Dennis Sikhayi takes on Nakumatt’s Robert Omunuk in a past Kenyan Premier League match at the Thika Stadium.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

After their 2-1 victory over Nzoia Sugar and goalless draw with Ulinzi Stars in Machakos both within three days, Ingwe took on a 720km to and fro journey by road for the Chemelil match just two days later.

“It was a concern to us playing the match in Mombasa and that is why we insisted the team has to go by air because then it is a one-hour journey and the players will have more time to rest. It was very tough in Kisumu because of fatigue and in the second half, we just died. Our concern now is getting everybody fit for the Muhoroni game,” the tactician noted.

“We have been working hard in training over alternatives in case we will not have all our players and change a few things. We have plan A and plan B,” Hall added.

He will hope his players come out victorious against Chemelil who played in Mombasa two weeks ago and lost 3-0 to Bandari.

“It is not an easy match to play because their coach is one who loves to keep the ball and apply pressure on their opponents. They are a new team which definitely brings in a new dimension into the game but we have to go there and get a response after last weekend’s loss,” Hall added.

AFC Leopards are sixth on the log with seven points off four matches, just two shy of leaders Gor Mahia.

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