What you need to know:
- At Nyayo National Stadium, defending champions Gor Mahia rallied from behind to hold KCB 1-1 while Tusker and FC Talanta battled to a goalless draw at Ruaraka Grounds
- Visitors Kakamega Homeboyz beat Bandari 1-0 at Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa
- Forward Brian Yakhama fired Leopards ahead from from the spot on 12 minutes but Peter Ongechi equalised for Shabana in the 21st minute
The winless run by AFC Leopards and Shabana in the 2023/24 Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) campaign continued on Sunday after the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw at a fully-packed Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi.
At Nyayo National Stadium, defending champions Gor Mahia rallied from behind to hold KCB 1-1 while Tusker and FC Talanta battled to a goalless draw at Ruaraka Grounds.
Visitors Kakamega Homeboyz beat Bandari 1-0 at Mbaraki Sports Club in Mombasa.
Owing to the huge following that Leopards and Shabana enjoy, all roads led to Ulinzi Sports Complex, in what was the first meeting between the two community clubs in over a decade.
All the stands at the stadium were filled to the brim, way before kick-off, with Shabana’s section being the noisiest.
Sports CS Ababu Namwamba and Kisii Governor Simba Arati are among the dignitaries, who attended the match.
Forward Brian Yakhama fired Leopards ahead from from the spot on 12 minutes but Peter Ongechi equalised for Shabana in the 21st minute.
Leopards are 15th with four points, one more than 16th-placed Shabana.
“The boys pushed themselves and today we have not conceded in the last stages of the match. I would be happier if we took all the points, so it is still along way and we will continue working so that we win,“ said Shabana coach Sammy Okoth.
Leopards assistant coach Fred Ambani said: ”Knowing that Shabana are good in set pieces that is one area that we really worked on ahead of this match only to concede from it,. It is really disappointing and a learning process for our players but we need to win because other teams are widening the gap.”
Leopards winger Clifton Miheso would have silenced the noisy Shabana fans on two minutes but he missed the target from a free-kick. Shabana, who are back in the top flight league after 17 years absence, wasted no time in responding the other end in a similar fashion through George Onyango.
Twelve minutes into the clash, Yakhama fired Ingwe supporters into a frenzy when he beat Shabana’s goalkeeper Erick Ongiri from the spot.
Looking for a response, defender Rodgers Aloro floated in a free-kick from the right but none of the red shirts connected.
The experienced defender delivered another free-kick shortly afterwards but Leopards’ goalkeeper Levis Opiyo punched the ball for a corner-kick. It is a decision that the goalkeeper regretted immediately as Ongechi headed home from a corner-kick delivery.
The equaliser brought life to Shabana’s spectators stands as they chanted ‘Igwe’.
Shabana continued to probe Ingwe’s backline, goalkeeper Opiyo having to leave his line early on 29 minutes and clear a dangerous ball, before Aloro forced him to a brilliant save in the 37th minute from a free-kick.
Four minutes after the restart, Musa Oundo would have restored Leopards lead but his ambitious drive missed the target.
Shabana’s first clear-cut chance of the second half arrived on 63 minutes when Vincent Nyabuto wriggled his way into the box only to direct his shot straight at Opiyo.
The visitors survived on 75 minutes when unmarked Cliff Nyakeya delayed to shoot and he was timely dispossessed. The two sides continued to miss chances with Shabana’s Wycliffe Nthala and Leopards’ Ronald Sichenje all guilty late in the match.