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Tusker release Were to sign for AFC

FOOTBALL By By Gilbert Wandera | June 5th 2012

By Gilbert Wandera

AFC Leopards have finally signed international midfielder Paul Were from Tusker after weeks of negotiations.

Tusker chairman James Musyoki confirmed on Monday they have let go of the player who has been with the club for three years.

While admitting that the loss is a big one for his side’s ambition to retain the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title, Musyoki said there was nothing they could do to hold onto the player.

“He is a very good player thanks largely to us because when he came here he was still raw and we developed him to be where he is now.

“However, it reached a point where we could not hold onto him because Leopard’s officials met his parents and even negotiated with them and so we feel it is wise to release him,” he explained.

Were is believed to have pocketed Sh400,000 as transfer fees and it is believed Tusker could not match this figure.  He becomes the second most expensive player this season after Leopards paid Sh450,000 to get Eric Masika from Gor Mahia. Were joined Tusker from Fisa Academy.

Leopards have been eying Were since influential midfielder Salim Kinje left the club to join Tanzanian champions Simba Sports Club one month ago.

Were who featured for Harambee Stars in last weekend’s World Cup qualifier against Malawi has been an instrumental midfielder for the brewers and guided them to winning the title last season.

He seems to have hit his best form this season with two goals so far and several assists to boast of.

After struggling in the last stages of the first leg, Leopards are looking to bolster their squad ahead of the second leg.

Apart from Were, they have also agreed personal terms with Burundi international midfield maestro Floribert Ndayisaba of Vital’O FC Burundi. They are also set to sign Tanzanian international Idrissa Rajab formerly of Sofapaka.

Leopards coach Jan Koops told the club’s website that he is confident the trio will cure his midfield problems.

“Apart from his prowess as a left winger, Idrissa can also play in the left back position giving us the much required leverage,” said Koops.

Leopards are not taking anything to chance even as they prepare for the tougher second leg and sponsors Mumias Sugar are doing everything to ensure they get everything they need to do well.

Mumias Sugar will this week organise a three-day retreat for the team in the exclusive Karen suburb.

The company’s Marketing and Corporate Affairs Director Pamela Lutta said: “This retreat is meant to help the club look at what went wrong and rectify in time for the second leg.”

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