Last updated 8 months ago | By Robin Toskin
Leopards chairman talks up star striker’s importance to the Den as clubs circle over him.
AFC Leopards will not let go of their most wanted striker John Makwata, who they describe as a ‘priceless asset’, according to chairman Dan Shikanda.
Makwata, who Shikanda revealed the secret behind his shirt number, leads the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) scorers’ chart with 12 goals at halfway stage.
“He is an unbelievable striker. When he joined the Den, he said he would score 10 goals in the first leg, 10 in the second, eight in the KPL Top Eight and six in FKF Cup, hence his decision to take up shirt number 34,” Shikanda said yesterday.
“He asked that these targets be inserted in his contract. That is how confident Makwata is. What is encouraging is that he is a team player. He creates chances for fellow teams and carries himself with decorum,” Shikanda said.
Makwata, who has played in all but two (Kakamega Homeboyz and Nzoia Sugar) of Leopards 17 league games, is followed by Tusker striker Timothy Otieno on nine goals.
With KPL Top Eight not on offer, Makwata may not be able achieve his stated 34-goal haul. The former Ulinzi Stars player has been linked with a move to Zambia Premier League where he once played for Buildcon, but Shikanda insists the player’s heart is at the Den.
“Yes we have financial problems, but we are not looking to sell him. Like the rest of the players who have been understanding, we are determined to keep this team together. This is why we are calling upon all AFC Leopards fans and well-wishers to get behind the team by paying their membership and subscription fees,” Shikanda added.
The KPL players are beginning to attract scouts from around Africa following live broadcast on free to air TV stations among them KTN and on social media platforms thanks to productions paid for by Spanish LaLiga.
The Spanish top football division, LaLiga, signed a deal with KPL where they help the local league produce high quality broadcast content so that clubs can monetarise apart from marketing their players beyond the Kenyan border.