AFC Leopards beat Gor Mahia in race for Makwata

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Wednesday, September 4th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Former Ulinzi Stars striker and 2016 KPL golden boot winner John Mark Makwata [Courtesy]

AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia were among the busiest clubs in the just concluded pre-season transfer window with two Kenyan Premier League giants signing a combined 29 players and released 23 players.

Leopards, who completed a transfer deadline day coup by hijacking Gor’s bid to sign the former Ulinzi Stars striker and 2016 KPL golden boot winner John Mark Makwata, roped in 15 players after parting ways with twelve players.

This came as no surprise as it seems to have become a tradition and part of the transfer policy for the title-starved Leopards.

Makwata looked destined to sign for the record Kenyan champions after being reportedly given a cheque of Sh1million as sign-on fees, only for Ingwe to hijack the deal and offer him a two-year deal on Monday.

Leopards, who suffered a 1-0 defeat to Kakamega Homeboyz in their opening match of the season last Sunday, brought in left-back Washington Munene on a season-long loan from Wazito, re-signed Tusker midfielder Clyde Senaji and renewed Paul Were’s contract on the deadline day.

This took Cassa Mbungo’s signings tally to 15 following the early arrival of Burundian Tresor Ndikumana, Vincent Habamahoro (Kyovu Sports), Ismael Diarra (Al-Orouba), Soter Kayumba (Sofapaka), Hansel Ochieng (Nzoia Sugar), Robert Mudenyu (Sony Sugar), Benjamin Ochan (Kabwe Warriors), John Wanda (Vihiga Bullets), Collins Shivachi (Tusker), Collins Shichenje (Green Commandos) and Maxwell Muchesia (Kariobangi Sharks).

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After losing eleven players led by dependable trio of Harun Shakava, Jacques Tuyisenge and Francis Kahata, Gor moved swiftly to acquire the services of combative Sony Sugar midfielder Tobias Otieno, Elvis Ronack (Nzoia Sugar), Clifton Miheso (Kenya Police), David Mapigano (Singida), Ivorian Gislain Gnamien and Ghanaian Francis Afriyie among others.

But it is Sony Sugar, who were the most active club in the transfer window, recruiting 18 players after losing 24 players due to their financial crisis. The millers lost its entire first eleven squad led by captain Enock Agwanda, Tobias Otieno, Derrick Otanga, Kevin Omondi and Abdalla Shira.

Returnees Wazito were arguably the biggest spenders of the transfer, bringing on board twenty new players while releasing fifteen.

Wazito signed former Gor duo of Karim Nizigiyimana from Ugandan giants Vipers and Abouba Sibomana from APR in Rwanda as well as Elvis Rupia from Zambian side Power Dynamo.

Former domestic cup winners Kariobangi Sharks were the least active club in the transfer signing only six players and releasing seven and sending one out on loan.

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