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COACH’S VERDICT: Minnaert says Leopards can’t challenge for KPL title now

Football
 GOR MAHIA VS AFC LEOPARDS KASARANI AFC Leopards coach during their Sportpesa Premier League match against Gor Mahia at Kasarani Stadium on Sunday 06/03/16. AFC won 1-0.PHOTO.BONIFACE OKENDO

AFC Leopards head coach Ivan Minnaert believes his current team is not good enough to challenge for the title.

The Belgian has therefore set his sights on a top three finish in the first leg of the season before refocusing on challenging for the title after the mid-season transfer window.

The coach made the verdict after Leopards six-game unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt halt with a defeat to Nairobi City Stars last Sunday.

Although Leopards are now tied on points (14) with Tusker and Mathare United at the top, but edged out on goal difference, Minnaert insists finishing among the top three by the end of June and signing top strikers will keep their title hopes alive.

The Belgian has already been linked with a move for Malian striker Ismaila Diarra who will be out of contract with Rayon Sport in June. Minnaert said apart from Diarra he will also get at least two more players.

“My target is to be within the top three by June and challenge for the title after the transfer window.

“I think everybody knows what we are missing in the team, but the good thing is that we are still at the top. Only the goal difference that is separating us from the other two teams (Tusker and Mathare),” said Minnaert.

“It is just unfortunate that we lost against City Stars, we bungled the opportunity to extend the gap, but that’s now history. We need to continue working hard and improve on our concentration on set pieces and defend aggressively.

“If we finish among the top three by June, then we can challenge for the title. But to ensure we achieve our targets, I must sign a quality striker. We are not scoring lots of goals and for you to win a title you must have at least three strikers. But expect us to strengthen the team in all departments.”

The tactician further hinted at starting with attacking midfielder Allan Kateregga from the bench in the upcoming matches after the Ugandan failed to impress when given a starting role.

“Whenever Kateregga comes off the bench, he is ten times better, but struggles when he starts. We have seen this against Bandari and City Stars games where he did totally nothing. If he is not better on starting we need to rethink and do something else,” said Minnaert.

AFC Leopards host Sofapaka in their next match on Saturday.

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