AFC Leopards defender Lewis Bandi reveals targets after making long-awaited comeback

AFC Leopards defender Lewis Bandi reveals targets after making long-awaited comeback

Mark Kinyanjui 09:40 - 24.05.2024

AFC Leopards defender Lewis Bandi has explained what he is looking to achieve after making his first appearance since returning from a long-term injury.

After a challenging year away from the pitch, AFC Leopards' defender Lewis Bandi is making a determined comeback. 

The 21-year-old marked his return in a recent FKF Premier League (FKFPL) match against Bidco United, stepping in for Randy Bakari in the 85th minute. Despite a 1-0 loss, Bandi's return was a significant personal victory, reigniting his passion for the game.

"Football is everything to me and I am so happy to be back on the pitch," Bandi shared enthusiastically on the club's website. "I missed playing competitive football. Thank you to all our fans for the great reception on the field and all the encouraging messages."

Bandi's absence from the game was due to a horizontal tear in his anterior horn lateral meniscus, a serious injury that required surgery. 

This sidelined him for a year, during which he focused on recovery and rehabilitation. Now, his top priority is to reclaim a regular spot in the first team under coach Tomas Trucha.

“There is a lot of competition in the team, which is a very good thing, and I’ll have to work hard to command a starting role in the team,” Bandi said, reflecting his readiness to face the internal challenges head-on.

Before his injury, Bandi was a key player for AFC Leopards, often featuring in the starting lineup under then-coach Patrick Aussems. 

His performances had even attracted interest from other clubs, including Tusker and Tanzanian side Ihefu FC. However, his injury halted any potential moves and put his focus solely on recovery.

Bandi's journey with AFC Leopards began in 2015 when he joined the club's youth ranks while still attending Dagoretti High School. 

He signed his first professional contract with the club in October 2020. His rise was momentarily interrupted in 2023 when he went missing shortly after a FKF Cup clash against Kakamega Homeboyz, only to re-emerge later.

With the FKFPL set to resume in mid-June, Bandi's immediate focus is on the FKF Cup, where AFC Leopards will face Police FC. The Leopards secured their place in the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory over Compel FC, while Police FC advanced with a 4-0 win over Sofapaka. Bandi remains optimistic about his team's prospects and is eager to contribute to their success.

“We will do our very best as usual. I urge our fans to turn up in numbers this Sunday to support the team, and for sure, we won’t disappoint them,” Bandi urged, looking forward to the clash at the Police Sacco Stadium.

Bandi's return not only strengthens AFC Leopards' defence but also brings a renewed spirit and determination to the squad. 

His journey from injury to recovery serves as an inspiration, underscoring his resilience and dedication to the sport he loves. 

As he continues to fight for his place in the team, fans and teammates alike will be watching closely, hopeful that Bandi's comeback heralds a new chapter of success for both him and AFC Leopards.