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FKF Premier League

Juma: One setback for AFC Leopards does not mean we are out of the league race

19:25 BST 03/06/2021
AFC Leopards coach Tomas Trucha Anthony Kimani and Tom Juma.AFC Leopards coach Tomas Trucha Anthony Kimani and Tom Juma.
The former Harambee Star has further insisted the players are in good shape and ready for duty at any given time

AFC Leopards team manager Tom Juma insists this is a critical time for his team to step up and maintain their relatively good run in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League to avoid dropping off the top.

The 13-time league champions are aiming at finishing on top by June 30 to get a ticket of representing Kenya in the Caf Champions League next season. However, their campaign suffered a blow recently after they suffered a 3-1 loss against Bidco United.

In that game played on Sunday, a win for Ingwe would have taken them top with 39 points but it was not the case as the promoted side pulled one of the major upsets in the top-flight so far to stun them courtesy of goals from Alex Juma, Peter Nzuki, and David Orem in the 7th minute, 41st, and 51st minutes respectively.

How has the loss affected Leopards players?

"It was definitely hard and you could see everyone was disappointed with the result," Juma told Goal on Thursday.

"But it had already happened and we had to step up and you could see the response on Wednesday when we defeated Posta Rangers in the FKF Shield Cup.

"This is a critical time for the players and the team at large to stay put and ensure we sustain the chase for the top position. The league is a marathon and a slip-up does not mean we are out."

Did the absence of two key players affect them?

The former Harambee Star further insisted every player is working hard and the absence of Isaac Kipyegon and Collins Shichenje, who were serving a suspension, did not affect them.

"In the team, every player is prepared and ready to play when called upon," Juma continued.

"If you look at the recent matches we have played, there have been changes because the games are many and we cannot keep playing the same players every now and then.

"Yes, Kipyegon and Shichenje are quality players, just like every other member in the team, but their absences did not contribute to our loss."