Lay off Diarra, Leopards coach Mbungo tells critics

AFC Leopards head coach Casa Mbungo has jumped to the defence of his lead striker Malian import Ismaila Diarra for being costly in the 0-1 loss to Kakamega Homeboyz at Bukhungu Stadium at the weekend.

Diarra came under fire from the club’s fans after missing a string of chances in the weekend defeat but Mbugo, aware of what such criticism could have on his main man is having none of it.

The Rwandese tactician is however confident that the former Malian international will start delivering goals as he has only had his first game in the Kenyan Premier League despite his below-par performance.

Diarra missed at least four clear chances on a one-on-one against Homeboyz goalie David Juma with fans booing him during and after the match.

“Yes, he was faulty in front of goal but then that is only his first game in Kenyan league. Any striker can have a bad day in office and so he will automatically put on his scoring boots as he gains confidence,” he said.

Mbungo who is in his second season at the den has also warned that his selection will depend on the form of his players.

“My line up will depend on the form of my players, the opponent and the injuries so a lot of things will be put in consideration.

Anybody who will be given a chance must prove on the pitch nothing less but quality and contribution on the respective match,” he added.

Leopards started with six new faces in his line up with Ugandan Ochan starting in between the sticks while Shivachi Collins and Robert Mudenyu manned the defence, as Rwandn Habamahoro Vincent and Burundian Ndikumana Tresor marshalled the midfield, leaving Malian Diarra Ismaila as the main man upfront.

Casa has at the same time called for patience from the club’s fans as he tries to build a coherent first eleven.

 “It’s not a good start for us but I have seen some positives in the team, I’m  urging the fans to be patient as we try to get the best out of this very talented squad. I can assure you these will be a different Leopards side,” said the tactician.