Mahakama ambush shell-shocked AFC Leopards
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Written by Brenda Litunya   
Monday, 28 September 2009 00:00

LAST-placed Mahakama struck at the heart of “big” AFC Leopards, handing them a most surprising 2-1 defeat in Kenyan Premier League action on Monday at the City Stadium

It was Leopards’ second consecutive defeat in the resumed second leg of the Premiership and it will have far reaching concequences to the team’s survival in top flight football if similar results are not immediately stemmed.

Club chairman Julius Ochiel and coach Chris Makokha instantly came under heavy criticism after the final whistle from an obviously panicky support. Leopards had earlier lost 1-0 to Ulinzi Stars.

Mahakama were a better side especially in the first half when they netted both goals through former Mathare United winger Paul Oloo Obara, in the fourth and 44th minutes.

Both goals caught the Leopards defence napping after Obara beat the offside trap to plant the ball home past Leopards custodian Lawrence Webo.

Leopards scored their goal in the 36th minute through Benard Mang’oli whose booming free-kick was too hot to handle for Mahakama custodian John Wahu Wasonga, the recent recruit from Chemelil Sugar.

Nevertheless, the introduction of Itubu Imbem and [Dimonde] Selenge Mangila in the second half for tired Ricky Ojanga and Alex Aleko brought more Leopards’ impetus upfront. They confined Mahakama in their own half in the second half forcing over eight fruitless corners.

Mahakama had another new man, towering defender Zablon Amanaka, to thank for thwarting most of the Leopards efforts at goal. Twice, the Harambee Stars veteran saved off the line -- in the 78th and 82nd minute – and then a goal-bound shot in the 86th minute which he saved with a header.

Mahakama’s best second half scoring opportunity was in the 60th minute when Obara shot the re-bound wide after James Kiarie had hit the post.

Mahakama coach Sammy Omollo said the win was “absolutely vital” in their attempt to haul themselves from the bottom of the table.

“It’s a good boost as we prepare to travel to face Sony Sugar this weekend. I commend the forwards for good striking.

“Our strategy worked. I used new players who proved useful. They have done us proud and I hope they will click this weekend at Awendo.”

Leopards’ Makhoka who was a besieged man after the final whistle said: “There is always that bad spell but I am still confident the current side is the best since I took over. I brought new faces on a trial method today but that strategy did not work.

"I plead with our fans to be patient. We still have winning opportunities in many matches to come,” he said even as he was followed, on the way to the changing rooms with angry chants of “Makhoka must go, Ochiel must go!


MAHAKAMA - 42. John Wahu Wasonga: 2. Charles Odette, 12. Isaac Otieno, 23. Silas Chege (17. Collins Omondi, 57’), 35. Zablon Amanaka, 30. Joses Kizito, 31. Brian Osumba, 8. Joseph Mbugi, 36. Paul Oloo Obara, 33. James Kiarie (29. Stephen Owino, 62’), 34.Valentine Misango

Reserves not used -1. Benson Mungai, 37. Edwin Ochieng’, 28. Nicholas Ochieng’, 44. Adan Abdulahi, 14. Clifford Alwanga

Scorers - 36. Paul Oloo Obara (4’, 44’)

Coach - Sammy Omollo

AFC LEOPARDS - 1. Lawrence Webo: 5. Edwin Barasa, 15. Wellington Murwahi, 2. Gregory Nyapala, 4. Martin Imbalambala, 8. Samuel “Misse” Mwangi, 21. Bernard Mang’oli, 28. Ricky Ojanga (11. Itubu Imbem, 46’), 23. Alex Aleko (17. [Dimonde] Selenge Mangili, 46’), 9. Paul Odhiambo, 27. Joseph Okumu (24. Laban Tshimonjero, 75’)


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