Striker-turned-‘keeper inspires Ingwe to victory
A makeshift AFC Leopards side on Sunday pulled off an awe-inspiring 1-0 victory over Sofapaka at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.
The match drew thousands Ingwe fans and kicked off an hour later as Leopards struggled to raise a team because the playing unit was on strike over unpaid salaries.
Even then, the available players refused to take to the pitch and only did so after the intervention of the club’s caretaker committee members Alex Ole Magelo and Amin Walji.
Leopards coach Zdravko Logarusic had just 14 players choose from, all outfield players and no goalkeeper even as the players refused to take part in pre-match warm-up.
With no goalie in his ranks, Logarusic picked forward Karim Ndungwa to man the goalposts, leaving the substitute’s bench with just three players – Mohammed Diallo, Emmanuel Ngama and Clement Mata.
But it an dramatic turn of events, Leopards went on to beat Sofapaka by a solitary goal that came late in the match.
Leopards’s Edwin Wafula, the prowling right back with a penchant of surging forward, broke loose on his wing and swung the ball to the box and Sofapaka defender Abdoul Yourou, turned the ball into his own net in the 76th minute, sending the partisan Ingwe crowd into a frenzy.
CASUAL SPOT KICK
The goal seemed to have earned Ingwe all the three points but 10 minutes to time, Wafula turned from hero to villain when he handled the ball in the box, leaving center referee Amos Ichingwa with no choice but send him off and award Sofapaka a penalty.
However, Sofapaka skipper John Baraza’s casual spot kick was saved by Ndungwa.
At the final whistle, Ingwe fans stormed the pitch to celebrate their team’s extraordinary win.
Elsewhere in Nakuru, Ulinzi Stars fired two goals in the opening 11 minutes of the game to gun down Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) 2-1 in a fast paced KPL match while in Mombasa Bandari beat Thika United 2-0.
Ulinzi’s Geoffrey Kokoyo opened scoring when he headed home Oliver Ruto corner kick.
Seven minutes later, Ulinzi doubled the lead when John Nairuka fired a powerful volley inside the box past goalkeeper Zachary Onyango.
KCB dangerman Kiongera Mungai pulled one goal back for his side in in the 44th minute.
In Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa, winger Shaaban Kenga scored the match opener in the 42nd minute and then set up substitute Lazaro Simba for the second in the 64th minute.