Tricky outing for Leopards: Ingwe return to continental action after four-year absence

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Sunday, February 11th 2018 at 00:03 GMT +3 | Football

AFC Leopards train at Kakamega's Bukhungu on Feb 8th, 2018 ahead of their CAF Confederations Cup preliminary match against Madagascars Fosa Junior next Saturday. By Chrispen Sechere.


Captain Otieno wants his teammates to be cautious against Madagascar’s Fosa Juniors

AFC Leopards will be hoping to keep a clean sheet and possibly secure a big win when they take on Madagascar side Fosa Juniors in a CAF Confederations Cup preliminary round first leg match, at Bukhungu Stadium today (3pm).

The GOtv Shield winners make a return to continental scene after four years in the cold with an ambitious target of reaching the group stage.

Despite being considered favourites, Ingwe captain Duncan Otieno wants his teammates to take a cautious approach as they aim to lay down an early marker in the Confederations Cup campaign with victory over Fosa.

The Kenyan international further outlined the importance of beginning the continental campaign on a positive note ahead of next week’s return leg tie in Antananarivo.

Get the latest sports news updates. Subscribe to our SMS sports service by texting 'SPORTS' to 22840.

Robert Matano’s side made a slow start to the 2018 Kenyan Premier League season following their 1-1 draw with Posta Rangers in Nakuru last Saturday.

“In competitions like this, it is important to win your home matches, score many goals and try to keep a clean-sheet. This will ease pressure on us in the second leg,” Otieno told The Standard Sports.

“If we get a good result here, it will set us up nicely. We are motivated by the preparation we have had and the mood in camp as well as fans’ support. The boys are fully confident and quite positive about getting a positive result.

“As far as I am concerned, we have a very good chance of qualifying for the second round, but that is if only we can capitalise on our home advantage. As a club, our target is to reach the group stage, but that will depend on how we start today.”

But having watched Leopards lose 1-0 to Gor Mahia in the Super Cup match a fortnight ago, Dutch-born Fosa coach Andrew Wetzel insists the hosts must be ready for a difficult match.

“Leopards were not organised when I saw them in Nakuru. They seem to be building a team even though I still expect them to be aggressive on Sunday,” said Wetzel upon arrival at JKIA on Thursday.

Although AFC have been boosted by the return of striker Vincent Oburu after a three week unsuccessful trials with Czech Republic side Slovácko, they will have to do without the services central defender Salim Abdalla due to lack of required documents.

The winner of the two-legged encounter will face the winner between Mauritian side,  AS Port Louis and Ngazi Sport from Comoros Island in the next round.