As club’s flex their muscles in the transfer window, there is certainly great movement across board with clubs dropping and signing players in equal measure. AFC Leopards has this year attempted to minimize the damage, by releasing just a handful, and opting to send others on loan. Compared to previous seasons, Ingwe has managed to maintain a good number of its players. Across town, Gor Mahia has axed a sizeable number, majority of whom have been used sparingly over the seasons.
Form? Lack of playtime, Indiscipline? Just where did it go wrong for these top players?
Until end of last season, Saleh wore the AFC Leopards armband and commanded a place in the Leopards defense. The one-time Western Stima man had made a controversial exit from Leopards last season to join arch-rivals Gor Mahia. Saleh could not command a place in the Gor backline and would soon rejoin Leopards in the June mid-season window. Stewart Hall seemed less impressed with retaining the defender, and sent him back to Gor Mahia at the expiry of his deal. The arrival of defenders Robinson Kamura and Salim Abdallah further meant that Saleh had no place in the squad. Gor wasn't interested either and opted to axe him.
After a spectacular season at KCB, three season back Jacob Keli went on to be named the 2013 KPL Player of the season. He attracted massive interest, and AFC Leopards finally secured his signature. Despite finding the back of the net on several occasions, he just wasn't the hitman AFC Leopards fans had yearned for. He slowly began falling out of favour with the fans, and would soon leave the club for Nkana FC in Zambia. Nkana would reportedly break the bank to secure his signature in a transfer that attracted massive interest from both Zambia and Kenya.
Things went south in Nkana, and a season later, he opted out and joined Gor Mahia on a 1 year deal in 2016. At Gor, he joined a side that shone with a plethora of attackers. Keli who was optimistic of reviving his career, failed to warm the heart of the coaches, and the fans. He often would be booed by the fans and as the season approached the close, he lost his place in the team and would finally lose his place too in Ze Maria’s 2017 season plans.
Initially, Lucas was equated to a Sunday League Football goalkeeper during his stint at Thika. Many assumed that he was on AFC Leopard’s payroll considering the goals he averaged while playing against Ingwe. Lucas finally signed for Leopards, in what was largely seen as late change in mind, after the player was almost signing for Bidco. The shot stopper kicked off his season at Leopards in style, making crucial stops for the team. He would soon be handed the armband. However, in the June mid-season transfer window, with Lucas still the number one keeper, the club signed rookie Ian Otieno. Indeche’s position was immediately under threat. Ian took the lead keeper role, something that didn't go well with Indeche. Indiscipline clouded his season, as he would soon clash with the then tactician Ivan Minnaert on and off the pitch. Matters got sour and with the club (AFC Leopards) reportedly courting another top keeper in Gabriel Andika, Lucas Indeche’s time was certainly up at the Den.
Odula, a famed midfield star, was on the radar of AFC Leopards in the 2015 mid season transfer window. In fact, the player had agreed in principle to join AFC Leopards, before he made a sudden U-turn and opted for Ingwe’s archrivals Gor Mahia. His arrival at the Green side caused major ripples, especially considering he was joining on the most elite midfielders in the league. However, as fate would have it, a nagging injury caught up with the lanky midfielder who enjoyed little play time. With the arrival of new players, Odula certainly had no place in what looks like an already crowded midfield.
In 2014, Ronald Omino, son to Western Stima FC coach Henry Omino, was one of the most watched young talents. Ronnie’s potential was unmatched, and it was just a matter of time before the best could come out of the coach’s son. A clinical finisher, Omino was once among the league's top poachers with 10 goals for his team then, Kakamega Homeboyz where he stood out. A two year deal was handed to him at K’Ogalo. He showed so much potential but little play time and injuries slowed him down completely and there was no place for Omino at Gor Mahia eventually.
One of the league’s most travelled players. Juma has had stints at Sofapaka, KCB, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. A pacy left back with a terrific left curl, Juma is known for his assists and runs. His arrival at Leopards was largely welcome for a club so desperate for cover at the back and support upfront. However, less than 6 months into his stay at the club, Juma had started rubbing shoulders the wrong way with the technical bench and officials. By June 2015m, reports suggested that the club had considered parting ways with the defender. An unnamed official had accused Juma of sending him insulting texts on phone. The technical bench accused the player of missing training. Soon, Juma would lose his place in the team, and with the arrival of Stewart Hall, and indiscipline issues still hanging on his shoulders, Juma had to, yet again, leave another club.