NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18- AFC Leopards will after all travel to Mahajanga, Madagascar on Monday morning for their CAF Confederations Cup return leg tie against Fosa Juniors after the government bailed them out with 29 return air tickets.
The reigning GOtv Shield champions had brought out their begging bowls to government streets, asking for help to aid them honour the tie.
“The government has bought for us 29 tickets and this will go a long way in easing the financial burden that we expected. We now only have to worry about accommodation and local logistics,” Dan Mule, the AFC Leopards chair told Capital Sport.
Since the withdrawal of their sponsors, AFC who are closing in on 55 years of experience have been willowing in financial difficulty with Mule crying out for sponsors to come on board and assist them keep their boat floating especially in continental football.
“It takes an average of almost Sh7mn to ensure a team travels and plays an international match and definitely it will not be easy for us. More sponsors should come on board because we see other countries like Zambia, teams are hugely supported,” Mule added.
He has however disclosed the club has been able to pay salaries for the first two months via their sponsors SportPesa who seem to have put one foot in and another out as far as partnering the team is concerned.
“We went and talked to them and told them the problems we are facing. They told us they will help us pay salaries for the first two months until their appeal in court is heard. We are expecting that once this is complete at the end of the month, we can have some light at the end of the tunnel,” Mule further disclosed.
AFC travel to Madagascar with a 1-1 result from the first leg played in Kakamega last weekend and will need either a high scoring draw or an outright win to book themselves a ticket to the first round.
A loss or either a 0-0 draw will see them exit while a 1-1 result will force the game to penalties.
Mule who will accompany the team to Madagascar is however confident that the team can do well especially having had no KPL match over the weekend and having time to prepare for the tie adequately.
The team will however be without Ghanaian forward Prince Arkoh who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) in the first leg tie and is set to spend the next six months off while right back Dennis Sikhayi remains sidelined with a groin injury.