Depleted Leopards to turn to junior squad if no signings are made
AFC Leopards will turn to their youth team, Ingwe Cabs, to fill up positions left by senior players who have moved on to other clubs, if no signings are made, Citizen Digital can authoritatively report.
Leopards were sanctioned by FIFA and cannot sign any new players until they clear the debts of their former coach Andre Casa Mbungo, former players Soter Kayumba and goalkeeper Eric Bakame Ndayishimiye whom they jointly owe close to Sh12 million.
The club has only cleared the payment owed to former head coach Marko Vasiljevic with the treasurer Maurice Chichi confident they will successfully negotiate with the rest so that the FIFA ban may be lifted before the end of next month.
And with that the club literally walking a tightrope, and head coach Patrick Aussems still away, the playing unit depleted and the financial situation not showing any signs of improving, the Ingwe Cabs could be the option.
However despite all that, assistant coach Tom Juma is not a worried man exuding confidence that they will inject new blood from the youth team in the event they fall short of players.
“The most important players are the 11 who feature on the pitch and the bench does not worry us a lot.
But still even if things won’t add up to the expected number then we have a youth team and we will have to promote a number of our youthful players to the senior team,” Juma said.
The entire goalkeeping department of; Benjamin Ochan, John Oyemba and Ezekiel Owade have left together with goal poacher Elvis Rupia, Hansel Ochieng, Harrison Mwendwa and the midfield stalwart Collins Shichenje with the backline of Robinson Kamura and Clyde Senaji also walking out.
They now will be forced to depend on Maxwell Mulili as their main man between the sticks with his back-up to be roped in from the youth team.
“When you join a certain club it does not mean that you will be there forever. Time will come and you will have to leave and so the likes of Ochan (Benjamin), Oyemba (John) and Owade (Ezekiel) have served us for some time and they have left.
Just like Maxwell (Mulili) who will probably serve us for two or three years and then leave again. That is football and there is time for everything,” Juma stated.
However Juma reiterates that their objective will not change despite all the challenges facing the 12-time champions.
“It doesn’t matter the type of squad we have, we will remain with the objective of being top of the league.
Even if we have lost players, it does not mean we go pull the blanket and sleep but to work even harder to achieve what is expected of you,” Juma concluded.
Ingwe will open the new 2021-2022 season against champions Tusker FC on Sunday at Nyayo National Stadium.