Leopards failed to find the back of the net in their opening three fixtures until the 2-2 draw against Kenya Police.
It has been a rocky league start for AFC Leopards under the stewardship of new head coach Tom Juma for a couple of reasons.
First, the side is yet to win in any of their four attempts so far this season, drawing three and losing one despite bolstering the squad with seventeen new additions.
07:37 - 29.09.2023
The Kenyan right winger joined Chelsea as an Under 10 and spent close to a decade with the Blues before he was deemed surplus to requirements.
In those four attempts, Ingwe has only found the back of the net twice, against Kenya Police, and incidentally, both were from set-piece situations.
Second, the fans are already calling for Juma’s sacking, with chants of “Juma must go” roaring all over Kasarani Stadium at full-time after their lackluster draw with Muhoroni Youth a fortnight ago.
12:00 - 25.09.2023
FKFPL Week Four Review: Tom Juma treading on thin ice, Homeboyz cannot stop upsetting giants and is Shabana worth the hype?
From Tom Juma being escorted by Police out of Kasarani to protect him from angry AFC Leopards fans to Homeboyz frustrating yet another FKFPL giant in Gor Mahia, here are the talking points after mathweek four.
This weekend, Ingwe will be facing newly-promoted Shabana FC in a high-stakes game with both sides having plenty to lose.
Shabana themselves, have also failed to win any of their first four league games in the top flight, (more of that in another upcoming article).
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Olunga and Coutinho got to link up for the first time since the Brazilian’s arrival in Qatar as both players inspired Al Duhail to get back to winning ways.
Is their frustration justified? should Leopards be doing better? In this article, we analyse in detail the biggest teething problem that has affected AFC Leopards – why they are failing to create enough chances from open play –, and why they are failing to convert the few they are creating.
In the off-season transfer window, Ingwe’s transfer ban was lifted after they managed to settle former head coach Patrick Aussems’ dues, as the Belgian manager had taken the club to FIFA for failing to pay his salary, which left the governing body with no choice but to ban the club from making transfers.
17:00 - 28.09.2023
The patchy start to the season has left the Kenya Police management with no choice but to shake up changes, and have thus appointed the former Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards tactician to steer the team forward.
However, once the ban was lifted, Leopards acted quickly in the market to bolster their squad with 17 new players, with some of them being profiles that would inject some quality to their attacking arsenal - well, at least on paper-.
In attack, the club signed strikers Brian Yakhama and Yasin Sije to be the finishing machines. In the creative department, the club brought in Kevin Kimani, Clifton Miheso, Hassan Beja, and Victor “Aguero” Otieno to act as supply lines and help the strikers get on the end of chances.
09:48 - 29.09.2023
The Harambee Stars defender had a decent individual outing despite his side's 4-2 humiliation.
These options were to compete with the players already at the club, such as dynamic wingers Cliff Nyakeya, Jaffari Owiti, and Victor Omune, who is yet to play a game for the club this season due to injury.
However, despite having players who on paper are creative, they are yet to score any goals. But why?
Attack from flanks
First could be down to the fact that Tom Juma wants his side to attack down the wings rather than through the middle by whipping crosses into the box towards his strikers, Brian Yakhama and Yassin Sije who are both above six feet tall.
06:38 - 28.09.2023
A number of players in the squad have been battling injuries but they are soon to return to action.
During the 0-0 draw against FC Talanta, Leopards struggled to unlock a defensively resolute Ken Kenyatta-coached outfit even after they were left with ten men in the second half after Lucas Weiterere was dismissed.
Kevin Kimani, who has been the side’s chief playmaker, just could not create anything meaningful from the midfield, which left Juma with no choice but to inject some pace into the game.
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He subbed on Hassan Beja, and to be fair, Beja tried to give the 12-time league champions some width, with their true chances coming towards the end of the game.
Beja drove with the ball forward as shown in the screenshots below.
He then opted to pass the ball wide to left-back Vincent Mahiga, who whipped in an early cross to substitute Brian Yakhama, but the former Talanta forward headed the ball straight at the keeper.
The theme continued on a couple of occasions, where Juma opted to set up his team to try and play around the opposition to score goals by whipping crosses in. However, there are situations where players have not overloaded the box enough.
During their 2-2 draw against Kenya Police, Victor Otieno got the ball down the right flank and dribbled past Abud Omar upon receiving the ball from midfield.
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Jaffari Owiti did not attack the box quickly as when Otieno received the ball, he was outside the box, and by the time he crossed it toward Yakhama, Owiti was still not in the box.
The second could be down to the fact that players are not taking the few chances they are creating. Some have just blatantly missed chances given to them on a plate from the middle of the park.
Against KCB, Yassin Sije was intelligent enough to spot Jaffari Owiti’s run, so he executed a crisp long ball over the top which Owiti got on the end of and drove forward with it, but blazed it over the bar when on a one on one.
On other occasions, the players meant to inject some creative spark and serve the ball to the finishers in the team have not been decisive enough. In the screenshot below, Victor Otieno did well to get possession and drive towards the goal flanked by two of his teammates.
17:46 - 27.09.2023
Goalkeeper Gad Mathews returns to Gor Mahia's full training after injury layoff, thanking fans for support during his recovery period.
It created a proper three v two situation, with Police defenders backpedaling, but on this occasion, Brian Yakhama was free to receive the ball on his right, But Otieno opted to drive the ball towards goal instead, being unselfish in this case.
How does Juma solve this?
Speaking after the KCB match, Juma said that the team needs to learn how to take the chances they are creating.
“You cannot win if you are not scoring. We just need to work on that. We need to create more chances, we need to take advantage of the chances we are already creating to score goals because the second game has been played and still no goals, ” Juma said.
07:30 - 27.09.2023
Tactical analysis: How substitute Violet Nanjala’s direct running helped Harambee Starlets beat Cameroon
Nanjala started on the bench for Starlets, but her introduction proved to be a masterstroke by head coach Beldine Odemba.
The former Harambee Stars midfielder has insisted on “hard work” in each of his press conferences so far, and based on the evidence seen, his side really needs to walk the talk from this perspective if they are to bring back hope into their disgruntled fans.