Being at the summit of the Kenyan Premier League is a sight that has been rare for many an AFC Leopards fan.
Years of hurt has seen Leopards dangerously dangle around the base of the log, one season after another, with their topflight status only maintained by the ineptitude of teams around them rather than their own brilliance.
The new 2016 season may still be only six rounds old, 24 matches remain, but the fact that they lead the log hasn’t been out of luck.
Leopards, still unbeaten, have collected 14 out of a possible 18 points scoring the joint second most goals while conceding only four goals which is only bettered by Ulinzi Stars’ two.
No way through
New signing Yakubu Ramadhan has marshaled the backline so well it’s hard to notice that this is his first season in the Kenyan topflight. His partnership at the heart of the defence with Eugene Ambulwa has thwarted many opposition forwards and with Bernard Ongoma just ahead of them as the deep-sitting midfielder, scoring against the Leopard has proved to be a herculean task.
There was a lot of mockery when Leopards closed the off-season transfer window with Kepha Aswani as their marquee business at the front. However, with the winning strikes against Bandari and Kakamega Homeboyz, Aswani has won Leopards six valuable points.
Defending champions Gor Mahia have only four points in total, albeit with a game in hand.
Remaining forward, the undoubted potential of Allan Kateregga has been fully exploited with the Ugandan winger claiming an assist in the 2-1 defeat of Sony Sugar while also netting the equalizer against bogey team Chemelil. Those statistics don’t do enough favor to Kateregga’s overall contribution especially when coming on as a substitute.
And who can forget Lamine Diallo? His winner against Gor Mahia in the Mashemeji derby ranks highest amongst what has so far been a stellar season by his standards last season.
The contributions of the likes of Simon Abuko, Cresten Mwanzo and Andrew Tololowa cannot be understated while in Ivan Minnaert, Ingwe have found a coach who has the swagger and hunger to bring back glory days at the club.
As mentioned earlier, there still a long way to go but as they prepare to face Nairobi City Stars (a team they have beaten in their last three meetings), you can almost put all your bet on Leopards taking the three points and perhaps extending their lead at the top.
The good old days could be back, after all. < Steifmaster > Photo: goal
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