|Paul Were in action at City Stadium in 2013 (Photo/Chris Omollo)|
It was initially a quiet off season at Ingwe with very little transfer activity. After the end of the disappointing 2012 league, in which the Leopards finished third and just three points behind winners Tusker, the whip was cracked and heads turned.
The entire technical bench led by Dutchman Jan Koops was sent packing. Assistant coach Mickey Weche and Team Manager Benard Onyango were sacked. Noah Wanyama was also fired and the post he held of technical director disbanded. Ten players among them Jimmy Bagaye and Laurent Tumba were shown the door. It was the beginning of overhauling the team.
Former Harambee Stars coach Tom Olaba was appointed assistant coach to take care of the team on interim basis, pending the appointment of a head coach. John Busolo was retained as goal keeper trainer and former captain Nicholas Muyoti named Team Manager. Portuguese Vitor Salvado, who is expected in the country this week, was later selected as head coach.
Goalkeeper Martin Musalia was the first new player to sign for Ingwe this transfer window. The former Mathare United custodian penned a 2 year contract and will be fighting for the No. 1 jersey with Patrick Matasi and Barnabas Tiema, who conceded a massive 27 goals between them last year.
Defenders Jackson Saleh, Noah Abich and Anthony Kimani also signed two-year contracts each, moving from Western Stima, Division 1 side Nakuru All Stars and Mathare United respectively. They are expected to add depth and cover to the leaking defence. Kimani can play at right back, centre back and as a defensive midfielder. Saleh is reported to have cost a whopping Ksh 265,000 and is likely to confine last season’s Ksh 450,000 signing Eric Masika to the bench.
Obadiah Ndege, who played for Leopards in 2009, has rejoined the Den after being dropped by champions Tusker despite scoring 8 goals for them in the second half of last season. Dennis Noah Wafula is another new signing. The young striker has been poached from Finlays Horticulture and together with Ndege, both who will be at AFC until 2015, could be the answer to Ingwe’s striking bluntness.
Patillah Omoto is perhaps Ingwe’s biggest catch. The utility player who featured for Kenya at the CECAFA Kagame Cup last year is on a one year loan from Kariobangi Sharks. The lad impressed and invited cheers from fans at City Stadium when he played as a substitute in Leopards 3-0 friendly win against NCC on Saturday. Ingwe will play another friendly match against Tanzania’s Azam on January 19th at Nyayo Stadium.
FULL 2013 SQUAD
Goalkeepers: 1. Patrick Matasi, 19. Barnabas Tiema, 16. Martin Musalia
Defenders: 5. Edwin Wafula, 46. Idrissa Rajab, 33. Abbas Kiwaalabye, 2. Noah Abich, 17. Jonas Nahimana, 42. Anthony Kimani, 15. Eric Masika, 20. Jackson Saleh
Midfielders: 22. Bernard Mangoli, 4. Martin Imbalambala, 7. Oscar Kadenge, 8. Patillah Omoto, 12. Augustine Etemesi, 10. Charles Okwemba, 44. Paul Were, 31. Floribert Ndayisaba, 13. Edward Seda
Strikers: 14. Allan Wanga, 27.Noah Wafula, 9. Obadiah Ndege, 34. Victor Ochieng, 11. Mike Baraza