Football is an obsession and passion that AFC Leopards' players and fans have carried for many years. As a result, the club has one of East Africa's largest and most active fanbases and produced some of the most talented players in Kenya's football history. So, let's dig deep into the club's history, management, achievements, and much more that you will be excited to learn.
When was AFC Leopards founded? Talk about the oldest football teams in Kenya, and you will undoubtedly find the Leopards among the top. The club's nickname is Ingwe, a Luhya word meaning Leopards. It was founded in 1964 and currently plays in Kenya's top division, the FKF Premier League.
AFC Leopards FC's profile
- Full name: All Footballers' Confederation Leopards Football Club
- Nickname: Ingwe (Leopards)
- Founded: 1964
- Based in: Nairobi
- Stadium: Nyayo National Stadium
- Capacity: 45,000 people
- League: FKF Premier League
- Colours: Blue and white
- Chairman: Dan Shikanda
- Patron: Musalia Mudavadi
- Coach: Patrick Aussems
- Captain: Isaac Kipyegon
- AFC Leopards' Instagram: afcleopards_sc
- Twitter: @AFCLeopards
- Facebook: @AFCLeopardsSC
AFC Leopards' history
The club was initially founded as Abaluhya Football Club. However, it changed to All Fans United Football Club following a presidential ban on tribal clubs in 1979. So, who owns AFC Leopards?
AFC is a community club owned by the Luhya tribe in Western Kenya, which also form the majority of its fanbase. Luhya is the second-most populous tribe in Kenya, according to the August 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census (KPHC).
The energetic Ingwe fans are well known for their traditional Isukuti dance. It is a trademark tune that comprises fast-paced and energetic dances with drumming and singing. Even rival fans often get carried away with the irresistible melody and find themselves joining the party to display their Isukuti skills.
AFC Leopards' stadium
The club plays its home games at the Nyayo National Stadium, located approximately 2km away from Nairobi's City Centre. The stadium has a capacity of 45,000 and has hosted several international games. It is also the second-largest stadium in Kenya.
AFC Leopards' achievements
Ingwe players enjoyed much success in the 80s and 90s, but the following generations have struggled to replicate their predecessors. Despite being referred to as the sleeping giants, it remains Kenya's second most succesful club. So, when was the last time AFC Leopards won KPL?
The club has won the Kenyan Premier League a record 13 times. Its first title was in 1966, and the last one was in 1998. It also has numerous Kenya Cups and CECAFA Club Championship titles to showcase.
Here is a list of AFC Leopards' trophies won in its history:
- Kenyan Premier League: 13 (1966, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1998)
- FKF President's Cup: 9 (1967, 1968, 1984, 1985, 1991, 1994, 2001, 2009, 2013)
- CECAFA Club Cup: 5 (1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1997)
The Nairobi-based club has also represented Kenya in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup but has never won the titles.
AFC Leopards' squad 1987
Ingwe's management assembled one of the strongest teams in the history of Kenyan football in the 1980s. The dream team conquered Kenya and East Africa, shattering opponents' spines.
Among AFC Leopards' legends in the side included Joe Masiga (Bulldozer), goalkeeper Mahmoud Abbas (Kenya One), Wilberforce Mulamba (Maradona), and Josphat Murila (controller). Others are Mickey Weche (T9), Peter Owade (Zimbo), John Arieno (Papa), and John Okello (Zangi).
In a mouthwatering CAF Champions League knockout fixture, the Kenyan club played Egypt's & African giants Al Ahly in a two-legged tie.
The Egyptians won 6-0 in the first leg at home, while Ingwe won the reverse fixture 2-1 in Kakamega, courtesy of Masiga's brace. However, despite displaying a remarkable performance, Ingwe's dreams were shuttered with a 7-2 aggregate scoreline.
AFC Leopards' 1998 squad
Another memorable squad in Ingwe's history is the 1998 group that consisted of James Kayimba of Sierra Leone and Congo's Peter Kakonge. Other key players in the team included former Gor Mahia's star Paul Ochieng and a young Titus Mulama.
The 1998 squad won the club's 13th league title and the last. After that, financial woes started creeping into the club and affecting players' performance. The team lost to minors Mukura Victory of Rwanda in the first round of the Africa champions in 1999.
AFC Leopards' squad 2021
The 2020/21 FKF Premier league season saw Ingwe finish fourth, behind champions Tusker, KCB, and Bandari. Meanwhile, plans to bring some fresh blood met an early setback in March 2021 following a FIFA ban on the club.
FIFA banned AFC from signing players for the following two transfer windows after failing to pay a reported $15,840 debt to Rwandan midfielder Vincent Habamahoro.
Despite that, AFC Leopards' management turned to its youth and promoted five players from their junior team ahead of the season. The new additions include;
- Maxwell Otieno (attacking midfielder) - Kenyatta University student
- Zacharia Ochieng (defender)
- Giovanni Lukhumwa (central midfielder)
- Erick Mbithi (left-back)
Who is AFC Leopards' captain? AFC Leopards' coach Patrick Aussems appointed Isaac Kipyegon, the club's skipper, in July 2021. He joined AFC from Zoo FC after helping the Kericho-based club secure promotion to the top division in 2017.
Here is a list of AFC Leopards FC's squad in the 2021/22 season.
- Ezekiel Owade
- Maxwell Mulili
- Collins Shivachi
- Christopher Oruchum
- Dennis Sikhayi
- Robinson Kamura
- Robert Mudenyu
- Moses Mburu
- Isaac Kipyegon
- Yusuf Mainge
- Clyde Senaji
- Collins Shichenje
- Washington Munene
- Edward Seda
- Paul Were
- Said Tsuma
- Asad Musa
- Brian Marita
- Austin Otieno
- Marvin Omondi
- Boniface Mukhekhe
- Peter Thiong'o
- Eugene Mukangula
- Jaffari Odenyi
- Elvis Rupia
- Hansel Ochieng'
- Bienvenue Shaka
- Clark Achuka
- John Wanda
AFC Leopards players' salary
Ingwe is among clubs in Kenya paying players considerable wages per month despite financial challenges ravaging the team. For example, the Leopards and arch-rivals Gor Mahia are estimated to pay players ranging from $748 and $615 per month.
AFC unveiled new jerseys for the 2021/22 season at Camp Toyoyo, Jericho, on 15 December 2021. BetSafe pumped in about $101,000 to sponsor Ingwe's and Gor Mahia's new jerseys.
Mashemeji Derby is a famous rivalry between the Leopards and Gor Mahia, two of the most successful clubs in Kenya. The first derby took place on 5 May 1968, where Gor Mahia won 1-0 in Nairobi.
Some call it the 'Kenyan Clasico' like Spain's tension-filled, historic clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid FC. Indeed, the Mashemeji Derby has lived up to expectations of entertaining viewers.
AFC Leopards' net worth
AFC is considered the second richest football club in Kenya. It has an estimated net worth of $458,000. In addition, the club owns a $57,000 bus that helps transport players and staff to games and training sessions.
AFC Leopards FC's world ranking
The 13-times KPL champions are currently not ranked. However, in 2012, the team was placed 79 in Africa with 43 points and second in the country, behind Gor Mahia.
Despite the challenges AFC Leopards' players and management go through, some fanatics believe the team is getting closer to winning its 14th league title after finishing fourth last season. So will the long wait for a title finally end this season for Ingwe and its fans?
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