AFC Leopards held to frustrating draw by Kenya Police

©Kenya Police

FKFPL AFC Leopards held to frustrating draw by Kenya Police

Festus Chuma 16:53 - 23.09.2023

Brian Yakhama became the first player to score for AFC Leopards in the 2023-2024 season in a match that was played at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

AFC Leopards have failed to register their first win of the season under coach Tom Juma after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Kenya Police in a Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL)  match played at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on Saturday afternoon.

Kenya Police were also seeking their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon as they faced a struggling Leopards team, who had failed to find the back of the net in the previous three matches this season.

Once again, their coach, Francis Baraza, appeared to be searching for a winning formula as he was in high spirits after his team earned a point in their previous league match against Shabana.

Experience seemed to be what the Police technical bench was looking for, with Tito Okelo and Kenneth Muguna leading the line.

However, Okelo had a rather quiet evening, as Leopards were allowed to play a high defensive line, with their coach, Tom Juma, setting up the team to sit back and focus on counter-attacks.

On the other hand, AFC Leopards , with players like Musa Oundo and Brian Yakhama in attack, aimed to use long balls to their advantage. They came close to scoring early on, but Patrick Matasi had to be alert as he made a good block to deny Cliff Nyakeya an opening goal.

However, the Igwe defense led by Vincent Mahiga was caught napping in the sixth minute of the match when  Charles Ouma sent a through pass to Kenya international Kenneth Muguna who sent a powerful shot inside the area into the back of the net for the opener.

Police should have doubled their advantage on ninth minutes when defender Randy Bakari had a free header from a corner kick but failed to hit the target, while Leopards  almost claimed an equalizer seven minutes later when a reflected cross from Musa Mohamed hit the far post – followed by a melee in the penalty area which saw several heroic blocks from the Law Enforcer’s defence.

Leopards started getting into the game and their pressing was rewarded in the 15th minute when a well taken free-kick by Kayci Odhiambo was handed inside the net by Brian Yakhama with a diving Patrick Matasi well beaten. 

However, the Igwe defense, led by Vincent Mahiga, was caught napping in the sixth minute of the match when Charles Ouma sent a through pass to Kenyan international Kenneth Muguna, who unleashed a powerful shot inside the penalty area, finding the back of the net for the opener.

Police had a golden opportunity to double their advantage in the ninth minute when defender Randy Bakari had a free header from a corner kick but failed to hit the target. On the other hand, Leopards came close to equalizing seven minutes later when a deflected cross from Musa Mohamed struck the far post. This was followed by a chaotic scene in the penalty area, with several heroic blocks from the Law Enforcers' defense.

Leopards began to find their rhythm in the game, and their pressing paid off in the 15th minute when Kayci Odhimabo took a well-executed free-kick that ended up in the net, with Brian Yakhama applying the finishing touch, leaving a diving Patrick Matasi well beaten.

With the half hour mark approaching, Patilah Omoto should have done better as he found himself on the end of a superb move and only had the keeper to beat. But his tame effort was scooped up comfortably by Opiyo. 

With thousands of fans in attendance playing the famous western Kenya drums of Isukuti the Police players seemed to struggle especially at the back, and this allowed Leopards to have the better of the chances. 

With the half-time whistle looming Leopards looked to build on their 40% conversion ratio between minutes 30 and 45 as Clifton Miheso tested Patrick Matasi with a stunning long-range drive, but the former Tusker FC custodian was up to the task as he tipped the ball over the bar. 

Leopards had one final chance to extend their lead before the break after some good work between Tito and Mangeni but yet again they were unable to convert as they headed into the break tied 1-1.

Police had an early chance in the second half when a cross from the right picked out Musa Oundi  at the far post, but he couldn’t control the ball with his chest and the opportunity went begging.

Kevin Muguna instigated a number of attacks for the home side, often setting up the likes of Okelo, but his shots at goal lacked precision.

The momentum was with the Leopards, and they were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute when Musa Oundo was brought down inside the area by Musa Mohamed, who was yellow-carded for the challenge. Cliff Nyakeya converted the resultant penalty to put Ingwe in the lead.

Reagan Otieno came off from the bench  for Patilah Omotto alongside new signing Tyson Otieno for Alvin Mangeni and  Otieno almost made an immediate impact as he crossed for Okello , but his shot went just wide of the far post.

Police were putting real pressure on the Ingwe  goals and had it not been for Vincent Mahiga on the goal line,  Clinton Okinyi should have been behind as the defender made a massive block to deny the away side.

The Law Enforcers came more into the game as the game grew older, and Opiyo was called into action just before the hour mark as he made a smart save to push Okelo’s  shot away from  Charles Ouma.

That would be Okelo ’s last chance to impress Baraza as he was eventually withdrawn for his namesake Eric Juma

The change seemed to take a little of the sting out of the Law Enforcers  attack which gave Leopards some much-needed respite.

That was until Tyson Otieno tested Opiyo with a thunderous shot from well outside the box, but the Leopards custodian let loose Rashid Toha header with the match ending in a 2-2 draw.

How they lined up:

Kenya Police: Patrick Matasi, Baraka Badi, Aboud Omar, Rashid Toha, Musa Mohamed, Charles Ouma, Patilah Omoto, Alvin Mangeni, Clinton Okinyi, Keneth Muguna, Tito Okelo

AFC Leopards: Levis Opiyo, Raddy Bakari, Vincent Mahiga, Keyci Odhiambo, Washington Munene, Musa Oundo, Cliff Nyakeya, Kweyu Muhendo, Brian Yakhama, Vincent Otieno, Clifton Miheso.