AFC Leopards pull out their greatest win in recent years as they triumph against Sofapaka despite having only 14 players available at the game due to a player boycott, forcing Ugandan striker Karim Ndugguwa to stand in as goalkeeper.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA
In what seemed like a script straight from a Hollywood movie, a financially stricken AFC Leopards mustered a sensational 1-0 win over formidable opposition in the form of Sofapaka F.C despite only 14 players turning up to the game after a player boycott over unpaid salaries. Ugandan forward Karim Ndugguwa volunteered to stand in goal for the Leopards as first team goalkeepers Wycliffe Kasaya and Joel Bataro were both missing. The game had to start an hour late as AFC planned their makeshift squad while fans were baying for the blood of top officials.
It was however disappointing from the Sofapaka point of view as the players seemed to become complacent, probably due to the problems being faced by their adversaries. Shots at the stand in goalkeeper were few and far between and it was actually the wounded Leopards who seemed more dangerous on the counterattack in the first half.
In the second half, AFC upped the tempo when coach Zdravko Logarusic introduced Emmanuel Ngama and Mohamed Dialo who brought in some much needed pace. However the goal came from an unlikely source as full back Edwin Wafula crossed into the area and Sofapaka defender Abdoul Yourou unfortunately turned the cross into his own net in the 76th minute. Wafula went from hero to zero as he was sent off for handling the ball in the box.
Veteran striker John Baraza stepped up to take the crucial spot kick but Karim Ndugguwa was the unlikely hero as he saved the penalty much to the disbelief of his fellow players and AFC Leopards fans who went into a frenzy, invading the pitch immediately after the final whistle and hoisting the Ugandan striker/goalkeeper high on their shoulders while praising his exploits.