NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – AFC Leopards head coach Rodolfo Zapata says the club will be a force to reckon over the next two seasons considering the investment they have made with bringing in young players into the squad.
Among the players who landed at the den in the June transfer window included the Thika United trio of Eugene Mukangula, Said Tsuma and Saad Musa while midfielder Edward Seda returned to the club after a stint at Mathare United with striker Alex Orotamal arriving from Rwanda.
“We need to fight for the league title this year, but also, we are building a powerful team for the next two seasons. We need to be patient especially with the new players who need to adapt, but I know that if we keep this project then we will dominate football because AFC is a big team,” the tactician said.
AFC is placed fourth in the Kenyan Premier League standings and despite sitting a massive 14 points behind eternal rivals and leaders Gor Mahia, Zapata says he will not give up the chase for the league title.
Ingwe were 1-0 winners over Sony Sugar over the weekend and the win was an encouragement for Zapata that his side can challenge for the crown.
“I am very happy with the players because we performed very well and created many opportunities to score. Even the last game we lost 3-0, we still played very well and created more chances than the home team. We should continue in this way,” the tactician added.
-Sofapaka warns Gor-
Meanwhile, Sofapaka head coach John Baraza has warned Gor Mahia they will not relinquish the fight for the league title easily, despite being nine points behind the leaders who have a three-game deficit.
Sofapaka beat Mathare United 3-2 over the weekend to narrow the gap and Baraza who won the title with Batoto ba Mungu as a player in 2009 says they will push on with their focus left on winning their matches.
“The league is still open. As much as Gor have those matches at hand, they will have to fight for the points on the pitch. This is football; anything can happen. We still have a lot of hopes and ours is just to keep winning our games and see what happens at the end,” Baraza said.
Sofapaka have a five point deficit between them and third placed Bandari FC and Baraza is confident that at worse, if their league ambitions do not come to fruition, they will ensure the worst they finish is second.
Meanwhile, Mathare United who earlier on in the season looked like title favorites, have fizzled away winning only one of their last 12 games, drawing eight and losing three.
Despite the poor run, head coach Francis Kimanzi remains confident his charges can bounce back to winning ways though fighting for the league title now seems like a far-fetched dream as they lay 15 points behind the league leaders.
“Of course you have to get worried when things do not go your way but I know our win is coming. We have to work on our mistakes especially minimizing the defensive errors and ensure we are better in scoring. That’s the only way we can rise back,” Kimanzi mentioned.
The tactician was disappointed in the 3-2 defeat to Sofapaka noting that they gave away cheap goals through defensive errors and has called on his team to up their game as the league enters the business end.