Leopards, Bandari ready for FKF Shield ties
AFC Leopards’ Football Operations Manager Tom Juma has said that they are treating FKF Shield with a lot of seriousness with a bid to use the cup competition as an extra route back to continental football.
The winner of the cup competition is usually awarded a ticket to the CAF Confederation Cup, where Leopards have not featured since 2017 when they defeated Kariobangi Sharks 2-0 in the final.
“Every player is fit apart from maybe Shaka (Bienvenue) who is having a little bit of groin pains but is closely being monitored to see whether it is something serious or not,” Juma said adding, “this is a knock Out and its unpredictable but the plan is to go all the way to finals and win it.”
The weekend tie will be a first outing for Ingwe’s new head coach Patrick Aussem who took over from Antony Modo kimani on Monday.
The former Simba SC tactician has already taken Leopards players through their paces as he injects his new philosophy of play before the Sunday tie.
Juma says that all is working in the training being conducted at Cambridge University, Karen here in Nairobi.
“Trainings are going on very well. We are thoroughly preparing and how to do it depends on the opponents we are facing and so nothing to worry.
He (head coach Patrick Aussem) is doing great and players are following his instructions and adapting to his style of play.
We are working together as a team and trying to help him settle as we also adjust to his methods of training”, Juma said.
Leopards first league test for the Belgian will be away to the rejuvenated Bandari FC in Mombasa.
Meanwhile, Bandari FC captain Bernard Odhiambo has reiterated their resolve to tackle every opponent with maximum respect when they begin their FKF Shield on Sunday.
Speaking after conducting their first training in Muranga where they will play Muranga Seal, Odhiambo insists that they are ready to defend the title knowing what is in hand after claiming the title.
“We will not underate them (Muranga Seal) because we want to finish the job very early”, said Odhiambo. He added, “The morale in camp is very high and we are ready for them with the same momentum we won against Sharks on our last league match”.
His sentiments come two days after Bandari team manager Albert Ogari said they have set their sights on returning to continental football by defending the tourney.
“We know that this is the easiest way to continentals so we will be in full force hunting for the ticket,” said Ogari in an ealier interview with Citizen digital.
The winner of the tournament walks away with Sh2 million as well as ticket to represent Kenya in the Confederations Cup.
The FKF Cup was halted last year due to the pandemic where Kenya did not send a team in the tournament.
-Report by Godfrey Ashiali and Luqman Mahmoud