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Zapata turns Ingwe’s claws to League assault

AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata watches from the touchline during his side’s SportPesa Super Cup match against Tanzania’s Singida United at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 5, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 6- After their SportPesa Super Cup exit following a 4-2 post-match penalties loss to Tanzanian side Singida United, AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata will turn his attention to fighting for the Kenyan Premier League title and quench the club’s two decade wait for the gong.

AFC are placed sixth in the standings with 25 points, nine behind leaders Gor Mahia with whom they have a pending fixture against and Zapata believes the race is still wide open and his charges have the ability to dethrone their arch rivals.

“I took the team in the middle of the season and it’s not easy. But I am happy that we are still unbeaten in 90 minutes since I came here and the league is still wide open. There are many matches to play and the difference is not very big. We need to keep working,” the coach said.

He added; “We need to keep playing good football and keep playing like Leopards; we are a big team and we have to play like one.”

Apart from the league, Ingwe are also seeking to defend their Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Shield title having started off with a 2-1 win over third tier side Shabana in the round of 64.

AFC Leopards players line up before their SportPesa Super Cup match against Tanzania’s Singida United at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 5, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Looking back at the SportPesa Super Cup exit against Singida, Zapata was disappointed they could not convert the many chances they created in the match , but still noted he was pleased with the performance of his team.

“We dominated the second half and had many opportunities. Singida is a good team and my players did a great job. I have no complains and I am proud of them. Penalties are a lottery and it is different when you take with pressure and under no pressure. In training we were scoring,” the Argentine tactician noted.

He added; “We have a lot of young players in the team and I am happy with their effort. I have nothing bad to say about them. This was a good experience for them and Leopards fans can be proud of them.”

AFC Leopards players warm up before their SportPesa Super Cup match against Tanzania’s Singida United at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 5, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Meanwhile, Zapata says he has handed in a few transfer requests to the club’s National Executive Committee, though he says he is generally happy with the squad he has and will not be bringing many players into the side.

He has been linked with a number of players from his former Botswana League side Gaborone United, the strongest name in the rumor mills being that of experienced midfielder Dirang Moloi.

The club has also been heavily linked to KPL top scorer Elvis Rupia who turns out for Nzoia Sugar, though the forward has hinted he would like to finish the season at the Bungoma based club to avoid disrupting his rhythm.

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