AFC Leopards captain Soter Kayumba believes that the team is still firmly in the title race despite their 4-1 humbling at the hands of Gor Mahia in this season’s first instalment of the Mashemeji Derby played on Sunday 10 November.
The heavy loss at the Kasarani Stadium saw Leopards, who entered the game sitting in 3rd place on the standings and level on points with Gor at 15 points, drop down to 7th place.
It was the heaviest loss that Leopards have suffered against their perennial rivals in the last five years and it also extended their winless run in the fixture to 10 matches across all competitions. But Rwandese defender Kayumba sees it as just another bump in the road that Ingwe are more than capable of recovering from as they aim to win a first league crown since 1998.
“We are playing a league and not a tournament,” the former Sofapaka man is quoted as saying on the club’s official website, “The league has many games. You can, unfortunately, lose the derby and win other matches and eventually win the league. Just urge our fans to be patient and I know we will rectify our mistakes in the coming matches starting with Bandari on Thursday.”
Kayumba also went on to rue the chances that went begging for Leopards on Sunday as well as poor officiating from the centre referee.
“We played well in the first half but we didn’t convert our chances to goals. We started the second half slowly allowing our opponents into the game. After they scored their first goal, we went on the offensive but unfortunately, we were left exposed and they doubled their goals again.
“We had genuine penalty appeals but the referee waved us away and that took the wind out of our team,” he said.
Despite Sunday’s loss, head coach Andre Cassa Mbungo, in his first full season in charge, has brought back optimism among the Leopards faithful that the long wait for a league title could come to an end this season.
Leopards have the league’s 4th joint best defence as well as the 5th best attack which has so far produced the leading top scorer John Makwatta (5 goals).