Victor Otieno on a mission to get AFC Leopards back to the heights of challenging at the upper-echelons

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Victor Otieno on a mission to get AFC Leopards back to the heights of challenging at the upper-echelons

Mark Kinyanjui 07:00 - 13.05.2024

The fleet-footed winger is determined to get AFC Leopards back on top with an FKF Cup trophy and a place in next season's CAF Confederation Cup up for grabs.

When Victor ‘Aguero’ Otieno joined AFC Leopards, it was under difficult circumstances that saw the club handed a transfer ban slapped on them by FIFA for owing their former coach Patrick Aussems accrued wages.

The Jamhuri High School alumnus was only limited to training with the side, but he could not play as he could not be registered while the club were going through the ban. He was only limited to apparances for the side's youth team

However, he was finally registered in August 2023, alongside another 18 players as the club sought to strengthen themselves following a difficult two years.

It became a difficult first two months for Ingwe under Tom Juma, who was dismissed after just =six games in charge. Juma was in a state of frantically shifting between a bunch of keys to desperately try to open the door as danger came closer and closer, and it just could not work.

However, amidst the whole situation, Aguero was one of the few players that was a bright spark for his side. He started four of the six games, and he was the only player that tried to make things happen for Leopards during their dull 2-0 loss to Gor Mahia last October.

Ingwe opted to change coaches, and decided to hire back Tomas Trucha, who returned for a second spell at the club after three years. He had quit the first time citing threats from members of the club’s administration.

His second spell has been rosier after a slow start, where he finally found a formula to get results, especially after their December camp to Mumias.

In the process, Trucha has preferred Jaffari Owiti and Hassan Beja as his two wingers, with Clifton Miheso playing in the number 10 role. This has left Aguero being relegated to a squad player, making the occasional cameos off the bench.

However, he was handed a rare start during their 1-0 win over Bandari last weekend. He played on the left wing in the absence of Hassan Beja, who was ill, and contributed massively to their goal, as he gave the pre-assist for that Miheso winner.

Nonetheless, Aguero insists that Trucha has been giving him so much encouragement to improve some aspects of his game, even though he has not played as much as he would have liked.

“I feel like the coach has been putting a lot of faith in me during training. I had been pushing a lot to make a start which I did against Bandari and I was pleased,” Aguero told Pulse Sports.

“I feel it has not gone well as I wanted  but I am thankful to have gotten a start. I have to keep pushing hard in training to ensure I will be there for the next goal.”

Aguero also opened up on the club’s early seasons struggles, and the things Trucha did to turn around the club’s fortunes from battling relegation, to gunning for the top five positions and the FKF Cup.

“We had not gelled well. There were many new players from different teams, so we did not understand each other.

“But since the new gaffer came, he has gotten us to play as a unit, and now everyone is singing in the same hymn sheet.”

Leopards want to finish as high as they can and claim their first piece of silverware since 2018, something Aguero believes is not an impossible feat.

“We want to win all our games. It will give us momentum when we face Police in the semi finals and that could determine if we go on to the finals and win the cup.

“We deserve to be back on the top.”

Leopards have seven (and potentially eight) games to end the season as high as possible, and with Aguero starting to get more regular gametime, he has revealed his individual targets from now till the campaign ends.

“I am planning to score at least three goals and create five assists in the remaining games of the season.”

Follow Pulse Sports X account for more updates.