NAIROBI, Kenya, June 12 – Sofapaka FC head coach Sam Ssimbwa has confirmed the club is set to sign AFC Leopards skipper Bernard Mang’oli ahead of the second leg of the Kenyan Premier League.
However, AFC Leopards say they are yet to receive an official bid for the midfielder from Batoto ba Mungu, a club he played for on loan in the second half of the 2013 season.
“We have heard that they are interested but we are yet to get an official bid,” AFC Leopards’ Secretary General Oscar Igaida told Capital Sport.
Sofapaka boss Ssimbwa though said; “We will have Mang’oli, the AFC Captain for the second leg. The game he played yesterday (Super Cup) was his last.”
Batoto ba Mungu, the 2009 Kenyan Premier League champions have already been on the offensive this transfer window and have snapped up seven new players as Ssimbwa looks to guide them to their second Premier League title.
The Ugandan duo of Feni Ali and Umar Kassumba were the first to land at Sofapaka and the club has also brought in Willis Ouma and Hillary Echesa from Chemelil Sugar with both having previously turned out for the club.
Also joining as confirmed by Ssimbwa is Meshack Karani from Kakamega Homeboyz, left back Wesley Onguso from Western Stima and youngster Timothy Ludda from Thika United. Mang’oli will be their eighth signing of the June window.
“We have also brought in a few young talented boys from the lower leagues and the hard work now is ensuring they gel in as quick as possible,” said the Ugandan tactician.
The club has already released 12 players among them starters Paul Odhiambo and Moses Odhiambo. Paul’s contract ended and he chose to join reigning league champions Tusker FC.
Other players released from the club include Ugandans Wanok Pate and James Kasibante, Jaffer Gichuki, Edgar Waudo, Collins Kisuya, Augustine Etemesi, Dennis Wafula, John Walubuka and Mark Wasirwa while Ugandan Johnson Bagoole has been promoted to the coaching team to be the assistant coach of the under-20 team.
“I don’t think we will struggle as much with the new players because if you look at the ones that are leaving, only the two Odhiambos were regular starters. The others were not playing as much,” Ssimbwa noted.
He is pleased with the players he brought in and though he is cautious whether or not they will be strong title contenders, the coach is optimistic they can charge up for the crown.
“Only time will tell. We don’t know how much the other teams have signed and so we can’t say we are the strongest. Just a step at a time beginning with our first game this Sunday and we will see how good we are,” he added.
Meanwhile, after losing out on Paul Odhiambo who chose Tusker, Posta Rangers head coach Sammy Omollo will not be looking into another signing.
The mailmen have signed only one player, Kennedy ‘Agogo’ Otieno from Western Stima. Rwandese Jean Karekezi who was snapped up in January but couldn’t play due to paperwork has finally been cleared and will feature for them in the second leg.
“After getting Jean I think we will not look for another player. We had hoped to get Paul but well, he chose another path. I am happy with my squad and the two strikers coming in will strengthen us,” the tactician added.
Elsewhere, Ulinzi Stars will have a pool of close to 20 players to choose from ahead of the second leg after last week’s pass out parade at the Recruit Training School.
Head coach Benjamin Nyangweso said the players were selected from the inter unit recruit games and he will make his selection of a maximum of five from this week’s training.
Among the notable names who graduated from the intense military training include former AFC Leopards midfielder Bernard Ongoma and former Sony goalkeeper Timothy Odhiambo.