AFC Leopards made a perfect start to their 2017 Kenyan Premier League campaign as they thrashed topflight debutants Nakumatt FC 3-0 at the Thika County Stadium.
Gilbert Fiamenyo, Marcellus Ingotsi and Mungai Kiongera were on target for the 12-time Kenyan champions.
There was a sense of uncertainty with fans not sure of what to expect from a team that was almost completely been overhauled following a disastrous second half of last season.
However, on Sunday, Stewart Hall and his young Leopards stepped onto the Thika United pitch with only one mission, have a positive start to their delayed 2017 league campaign.
Ingwe began the match on a high, pressing Nakumatt in their own half and almost got the reward in the 2nd minute when new signing Whyvonne Isuza’s header whistled just wide of the post.
Duncan Otieno, another off-season acquisition, then forced a brilliant save from Sammy Okinda in the 14th minute and this seemed to have inspired the Ingwe who kept pushing forward. The opener came just before the break as Fiamenyo rose highest to head past Okinda from a Robinson Kamura corner to give Ingwe a deserved first half lead.
Nakumatt, who had former Ingwe strike Kepha Aswani leading their line and Eugene Ambulwa at the back, also had moments of brilliance but they clearly looked flat with all departments failing to click.
Mungai Kiongera came close to extending Leopard’s lead in the 59th minute from a Marcus Abwao cross. In the 75th minute, Fiamenyo was replaced by former AFC Leopards U20 player Marcellus Ingotsi and the youngster made an immediate impact, scoring eight minutes after his introduction.
The icing on the cake was done in stoppage time when Kiongera bundled in the third to give Ingwe a perfect three points ahead of the international break.
Starting XI: Sammy Okinda, Nicholas Meja, Eugene Ambulwa, John Njoroge, Kennedy Onyango, Peter Nzuki, Ronald Musana, Clinton Kisiavuki, Boniface Akenga, Kepha Aswani, Robert Omunuk.
Subs: Charles Ouma, Cresten Mwanzo, David Naftali, Donald Mosoti, Erick Ochieng, Kelvin Thairu, Obadiah Ndege
Starting XI: Ian Otieno, Robinson Kamura, Salim Abdalla,Joshua Mawira, Duncan Otieno, Mangoli Bernard(C), Dennis Shikhayi , Marcus Abwao , Whyvone Isuzza, Paul Kiongera , Fiamenyo Gilbert
Subs: Andika Gabriel, Ramadhan Yakubu, Mao Ellias, Ingotsi Marcellus, Nyakha Haroun, Allan Kateregga.
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