Leopards warm up for Hull Challenge with Vihiga fightback

AFC Leopards warmed up for the ‘Hull City Challenge’ with a determined display as they fought back to earn a 2-2 draw with Vihiga United in Saturday’s lone Kenyan Premier League (KPL) fixture.

Argentinian tactician Rodolfo Zapata who has yet to be formally unveiled as Leopards boss watched from the sidelines as Whyvonne Isuza and Vincent Oburu inspired a spirited comeback  at the Thika sub-county stadium.

Vihiga had began the game in dream fashion when Chris Masinza put them ahead inside the opening six minutes before Mike Isabwa made it double delight for the visitors in the 31st minute.

Ingwe made a strong start to the second half with Isuza pulling one back from the spot and Oburu finding the level with the last minute of play for a dramatic finish.

The result saw Leopards’ winless streak stretch to six matches but Zapata will be pleased with the never-say attitude from his charges as he looks set to lead them in his first Mashemeji derby against Gor Mahia FC on Tuesday.

Zapata who jetted in the country last Friday has been tipped to restore lost glory at the Den following years of underachievement.

The Argentine is expected to work with the current technical bench consisting of Gilbert Selebwa-Team Manager and Mathews Ottamax-Goal Keeper trainer after the Tanzanian tactician Dennis Kitambi leaves the country on May 8 for his new Bangladeshi club.

Leopards chairman Dan Mule told Citizen Digital that Zapata has also been given the tall order of winning the 2018 Kenyan Premier League as well as defend the GOtv Shield they won last year.

Zapata is having ample time to mingle with his players in order to familiarize with them before he takes over from Kitambi to spearhead the Leopards.

“We are confident that he has what it takes to take this club to the ranks it deserves.”Mule said.

“He is confident to deliver and bring back a smile to the fans”.Mule said.”He added.

Zapata who has landed the top most job at the den is however taking over a side that has hired and fired coaches depending on the results posted at a time,inheriting a position that has been the more vulnerable of all in the den.

With his experienced being drawn from South Africa,Botswana and Nigeria,the Leopards’ bosses are hoping to see things turn around at a supersonic speed for the club that draws most of its support from Western Kenya.

Ingwe under Kitambi managed only a point from Kariobangi Sharks in a mid week tie culminating a winless month after a fine four consecutive wins had tempted the board to propose a fruit-less contract for the Tanzanian.

Leopards face Gor Mahia in the ‘Mashemeji’ derby on May 1st at Afraha Stadium which will also serve as a qualifier to face Hull City FC from the second tier league in England.