Players at broke AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia leaving in their droves as transfer window opens
By Charles Thuku and James Magayi
Lack of finances might force AFC Leopards to be among the teams that sign the least number of players after the transfer window officially opened on Wednesday.
In a revelation that is bound to shock their faithful, the teams chairman Dan Shikanda said they have identified four players and will not add more due to financial crunch they are going through after their main sponsor SportPesa pulled out last year.
“The situation at the den is dire and although we have spotted new acquisitions, who I cannot name at the moment, we actually don’t know where we shall get money to pay them. We have actually not paid outgoing coach Andre Casa Mbungo as well as players for the last five months and it would be foolhardy of us to add more players and especially given our financial position,” he said.
He further hinted that out of all the foreign-based players the team had signed last year and who were free agents, only Ugandan goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan has been retained.
In essence, Shikanda’s declaration means that the club has off-loaded Burundian Tresor Ndikumana, Rwandese Vincent Habamahoro as well as Malian Ismail Diarra.
Some of the leading clubs ready to profit from the misfortunes of Ingwe and K’Ogalo are big spenders Wazito who broke the bank to assemble big names for the 2019/2020 season but results have horrendously evaded them.
Wazito are currently looking to shore up their back-line having terminated contracts of five players. Top on their wish list are Gor Mahia stalwart and last season’s most valuable player Joash Onyango and indefatigable Leopards midfielder Whyvonne Isuza.
Wazito are in desperate need to reverse their slide and look to Onyango for defensive stability and Isuza for creativity in midfield. They are also said to be eying Leopards first choice goalkeeper Allan Owiny to address their frailties in that area.
Gor Mahia’s first leg derby sensation Gnamien Yikpe has already decamped to Tanzanian side Yanga while his friend and roommate Francis Afriyie flew back to his native Ghana. Uncertainty clouds his status as a Mahia player with reports that he could follow Yikpe to Yanga. The Ghanaian has, however, indicated a willingness to see through the remainder of his one-year contract.
Defender Maurice Ojwang, signed from Western Stima at the beginning of the season has formally requested a release letter.
Another ex Stima player Kennedy ‘Agogo’ Otieno is also looking elsewhere after his dream move to K’Ogalo turned out to be a nightmare.
“It is true we have not paid salaries for some months and that leaves us vulnerable to rich clubs that come for our players. We will, however, try our very best to find the money and pay. Hopefully we’ll remain competitive by not losing most of our players. The situation is not looking good though,” Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier said.
In a related development, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) have announced that they will axe nine players, even as they remained coy to reveal their identities as well as those who shall come on board before the expiry of the mid season transfer at the end of January 2020.
Despite their good run, KCB assistant coach Godfrey Oduor has confirmed the team will fire more than eight players and bring in a similar number but came short of revealing their identities.
“We will release more than eight players in the transfer window for us to have the number of players recommended by management,” said Oduor.
He added: “At the moment I cannot reveal the names but we will make an official announcement soon. We will then add a player in each department. So far so good for us and I am looking forward to the new year, in which I hope to perform even better.”