Newly-appointed Tom Juma has confirmed the identity of the new faces who he hopes to have on board when the 2023-24 season kicks off
AFC Leopards coach Tom Juma has confirmed that the club has raided Nzoia Sugar where they have agreed terms with five players while he intends to have up to nine new faces if their transfer ban is lifted by FIFA.
Defender Randy Bakari, goalkeeper Humphrey Katasi, the joint Golden Glove winner last season, winger Hassan Beja, left-back Vincent Mahiga and midfielder Boniface Munyendo are the five players Ingwe have lured from Nzoia while Brian Yakhama from FC Talanta has also joined.
Although Juma did not reveal the identity of the other players, Pulse Sports understands Leopards have also raided National Super League sides Darajani Gogo and Mwatate United for Nicholas Omondi and Brian Solom Mandela respectively and the players are already training with the club with the hope that they will be registered before the transfer window closes.
“We hope things will open up and we are allowed to sign. The players we identified most of them are coming for training, we already had two on Tuesday and we expect the rest during the week,” Juma told Pulse Sports.
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AFC Leopards’ new coach reveals nightmare scenario that makes it impossible for him to set targets for next season
Tom Juma was confirmed as Ingwe’s new tactician but he does not think the club will survive in the FKF Premier League in 2023-24 under current circumstances
“They have pre-contracts, we are waiting for FIFA to give us the greenlight then they will get into the system. We have five from Nzoia; a goalkeeper, central defender, two central midfielders and a winger then we have Brian Yakhama from Talanta plus two to three players from other teams.”
While also confirming that Nigerian striker Ojo Olaniyi has left the club, Juma says he hopes to reinforce the attack after struggling for goals last season.
“We are looking at least three strikers because it a sensitive position you cannot rely on one. You need to be firing thought the season so if you have three strikers, it will be fine,” he added.
The former Kenyan international is, however, keeping fingers crossed that what he terms a ‘nightmare’ scenario, where their transfer ban would spill into the new season, does not occur.
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Ingwe could yet be banned from registering new players if they do not clear the huge outstanding payment to their former coach
“It is crucial that this issue is sorted in the next one or two weeks because we are short of time. You cannot bring in new players the last two three days, it will be too late so they need to gel and play with the others,” Juma pleaded.
Leopards have a three-window transfer ban imposed on the club by FIFA after failing to pay over Ksh20 million owed to former coach Patrick Aussems.
The club was also not able to register new players in the last two windows owing to another ban after failure to pay former player Soter Kayumba on time.
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The Sugar Millers are set to lose stars who were intergral for them last season.
Ingwe would struggle with a lean squad that limped to a seventh-place finish in the league and exited the FKF Cup at the semi-final stage to extend their trophy less spell to six years.
Juma has already confirmed that Saad Musa, Owen Mboya, Levis Opiyo and Victor Omune, their dependable players last season, are nursing long-term injuries and will be a big struggle were they to go into the new campaign without reinforcements.