Another year another Mashemeji derby defeat for AFC Leopards who were bested by their eternal rivals Gor Mahia FC during what has been a strange period for Kenyan football and indeed global sport.
Leopards interim head coach Antony “Modo” Kimani who was in charge of the team on the derby day in the very last Kenyan Premier League (KPL) 2019-2020 season, was quick to put the derby experience behind him by hailing his lads for starting the new 2020-2021 FKF Premier League in good books hoping for consistency.
“I would like to say that the important thing is that we have started strong (2020-2021 season) and having taken us so long without winning our opening match, we managed to do that (2-1 win against Tusker FC) and that is an indicator for good things coming ahead”, said the soft spoken Kimani.
The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa’s decision on April 30 to declare Gor Mahia the 2020 Kenya Premier League champions for the 18th time extinguished Leopards push for their first title in two decades.
The “disturbing” announcement by FKF Chief according to Ingwe’s chairman Dan Shikanda subjected the big cats to prematurely finish last season 14 points off champions K’Ogalo in seventh place after round of 23.
In addition to Mashemeji derby loss, the den also witnessed a bee hive of activities from the Duncan Otieno contract melee to the resignation of Czech Republican head coach Tomas Trucha just after only seven weeks in his job and the allegations of mispricing of transfer fee by the Leopards hierarchy.
The resignation marked the end of bitter exchange of Ingwe fans on social media and defense mechanism of Chairman Dan Shikanda in relation to Trucha’s manager Prince Koffi whistling for protection from threats from unknown fans.
Threats that his life and that of his client was in danger for allegations of compromising coach to field certain players who were under his agency while sidestepping those from Kenya.
“Today we accepted Tomas Trucha’s resignation as head coach of AFC Leopards effective immediately. This has been occasioned by the coach feeling his safety is not guaranteed, since his manager Mr Prince Channis has been threatened by people purporting to be Ingwe supporters”, Shikanda said.
The walking away of the Czech definitely being rebuked by a section of Leopards family who questioned the manner with which he terminated a two year contract with the team to join Penang FA club in Malaysia.
In conclusion, Kimani who has been in charge of the team the since January this year on an Interim Basis after the resignation of Rwandese Andre Casa Mbungo, has returned to the hot seat with a tough task of lifting the 2020-2021 title.
Will he make it and write his name into the heart of Ingwe fans who are thirsty and hungry after waiting for years and years to see their own team parade on the streets on top of a caravan surrounded with fans shading tears of joy and singing choruses in praise of their team.