For Leopards’ Aussems, it’s the cup or nothing
AFC Leopards have a chance of returning to the continental showpiece to represent the country in the CAF Confederations tournament for the first time since 2017, but arch-rivals Gor Mahia stand on their way.
Ingwe have had a solid run in the Cup competition this season knocking out Taita Taveta FC , Posta Rangers, Bungoma Superstars, league leaders Tusker before humbling the John Barasa coached Equity Bank FC on their way to the final which will be staged on June 4.
After squeezing out a hard fought semi-final win against third-tier Equity through penalties, the Patrick Aussems will hope for the 2013 magic to outwit their fierce rivals in K’Ogalo who are seeing this as a clear opportunity to the continental showpiece.
Leopards head coach Patrick Aussems is wishing that the fans could be in the stadium to enjoy the final with them though this is highly unlikely owing to the strict Covid-19 protocols still in place.
This will be their first meeting in the Cup competition and in a final without fans.
Through his Twitter handle, Aussems has acknowledged the great importance fans could have made could they have been allowed back to the stadia.
“Tough 1/2 final today against an amazing team but, at the end of the day, we are in the FKF Cup Final … Congrats to my players and my technical staff ! Can’t wait to see Ingwe’s fans supporting us ! See you on July 4th ….”
Nevertheless, the Leopards tactician will be treating the looming FKF Cup final seriously and wants nothing short of a win.
The last time Ingwe played Gor Mahia was on Feb 10, the derby that ended in a barren draw at MISC Kasarani.
Back then, Aussems had just arrived in the country, the previous day, and he was forced to follow the match from the terraces while his predecessor Antony ‘Modo’ Kimani took charge in his last assignment as Ingwe coach.
Gor Mahia had Portuguese born Manuel Vaz Pinto on the touchline, meaning that the next month clash will be the first these two tacticians will be meeting.
Win and nothing else
“We have a final; I don’t know if it is this team or the other one. So we are 90 minutes from the trophy but it will be happening after more than two weeks, so the most important thing is to appreciate this victory(against Equity) whether it was through penalties or not.
He went on: “I don’t have any pressure and neither are my players,” the jovial tactician added.
In the meantime, the coach says attention shifts to the league with hopes that their injury list will not grow bigger as they aim for atop the table slot before June 30, to earn the nod to represent Kenya in CAF Champions League.
“Today we were playing our sixth game in 18 days meaning that on Wednesday we will be on seventh in 21 days.
Some players are tired and some are injured, but I hope that we will not have more injuries and that we will keep everyone at the right level of recovering,”Aussems added.
Leopards are third on log on 36 points, only two behind leaders Tusker after 18 rounds of play and winning the Cup as well as a respectable position on the table will be considered good enough for the success starved Leopards.
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