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Date: 23 September 2017

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Kenya: Leopards spoils Nandwa strategy

[Posted 11 Jul 2012]
[By Charles Malingha]
Kenya: Leopards spoils Nandwa strategy

Kenya Under-23 coach James Nandwa has been forced to draft five new players to the side that is to face Botswana in an international friendly on Thursday after AFC Leopards declined to release their called-up players because of club duty.

Goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, defenders Martin Imbalambala and Edwin Wafula, as well as midfielders Bernard Mangoli and Victor Radiki, all of AFC Leopards, had to heed their employer’s directive and trained with their club for Friday’s Kenyan Premier League clash with Nairobi City Stars.

Consequently, Nandwa has called up Moyas goalkeeper Lucas Indeche, defenders Teddy Akumu (Gor Mahia), Thomas Wanyama (Sofapaka) and Charles Odete (Tusker), as well as Sofapaka midfielder Abdallah Juma.

"It is impossible for us to release our players," AFC Leopards coach Jan Koop said on Tuesday. "The (international) match is on Thursday and we have league match on Friday.

"It is a very important match for us. If we win it we go top on the league table. If it was a qualifier match for the national team we would have considered but this is a friendly featuring Kenya’s Under-23 side."

The junior side assembled on Tuesday at Nyayo National Stadium and will have just two days of preparations before facing the Zebras at the same venue from 6pm Thursday.

KPL players dominate the Kenya team which has, among others, Thika United’s shining duo of Francis Kahata and Clifford Miheso, recent Gor Mahia hat-trick hero Rama Salim and foreign-based Piki Gatabaki (Germany) and Wilson Oyando (Sudan).

The on-form Salim may however not be available for the match. He was given the week off by Gor to attend to personal matters in Mombasa.

Regretting the short time left, Nandwa nonetheless said the team would give a good account of themselves.

Under near similar circumstances, the experienced coach took an Under-23 side to West Africa in January where they slipped 1-0 to a full-strength Africa Cup of Nations-bound Senegal and drew 1-1 with heavyweights Guinea.

Mathare host Sofapaka

A 20-man Botswana squad, also made up of entirely of locally-based players, was expected in the country on Tuesday evening.

Only four players – Mompati Thuma (BDF XI), Lemponye Tshireletso (BDV XI), Noah Maposa (Gaborone United) and Pontsho Moloi (Centre Chiefs), from the Botswana squad that played in this year’s Nations Cup will feature in the visitor’s team.

Tickets for Thursday’s match are going for Sh500 centre stand and Sh200 terraces. Meanwhile, Mathare United host Sofapaka at Nyayo from 7pm Wednesday as both teams look to bounce back.



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