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Makwata ready for sentimental Ulinzi reunion

AFC Leopards forward John Mark Makwata celebrates one of his two goals against Sofapaka during a KPL match at the Narok Stadium. PHOTO/Kelly Ayodi/AFC Leopards

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – AFC Leopards forward John Mark Makwata says he is ready for a sentimental return when Ingwe hosts his former side Ulinzi Stars at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Saturday evening.

Makwata left the military side in 2017 for Buildcon FC in Zambia, having served them in Nakuru for three seasons and finishing up as the top scorer in the league in his final full season in 2016.

“This will be a big game for me because Ulinzi raised me and opened the doors for me to leave the country and move abroad. It will be a good match for me to play and I am happy because I will be meeting my friends who I played with, the coaches, the management,” Makwata told Capital Sport.

He added; “But for me, the most important thing for me is my team and we want to win.”

The forward, formerly with Nairobi City Stars has been in good form this season. In seven matches, he has already tasted the net four times and he hopes his form can guide Ingwe to quenching a two decade wait for the league title.

Ulinzi Stars striker John Mark Makwatta celebrates after scoring against Kakamega Homeboyz in their final match of the 2016 Kenyan Premier League first leg.PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu.

“Our target this season is winning the league. The momentum of the team is coming up well and we have a good squad. I believe it is a good year to challenge for the crown. The other years the team has been starting poorly but now I believe we have what it takes,” he stated.

“We lost the first game and there was a lot of pressure. But now after we bounced back, the players are more focused and settled and we are working together to achieve our targets in every game.

On a personal level, Makwata hopes to break the 20 goal mark in the league this season to surpass his best scoring form of 15 goals from three seasons ago. Also top on his agenda is getting back into the national team.

“I think I am a better player now. I have picked up experience from playing outside the country and I am thankful that I came back and the form is still there. I want to keep working hard and hopefully make the squad for the 2021 African Cup of Nations. That will be a dream come true for me,” he stated.

AFC Leopards’ head coach Cassa Mbungo shouts instructions on the touchline during the Mashemeji Derby against Gor Mahia at the Kasarani Stadium on May 19, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

AFC have been in unstoppable form this campaign and after losing their opening match to Kakamega Homeboyz have responded positively to win four games and draw two, taking their tally to 14 and second spot in the standings, one shy of leaders Gor Mahia.

They come up against an Ulinzi Stars side that has equally started the season positively.

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Unbeaten in the last four, the military side has won three, drawn a similar number and lost one of their last seven matches this season to sit sixth in the standings with 12 points, two shy of Ingwe.

In 22 meetings between the two sides, Ingwe has a small edge having won 10 and drawn eight while four have ended in draws. Last season, Ulinzi won the first leg 1-0 while the return fixture in Machakos ended in a similar score line in favor of Leopards.

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