When AFC Leopards Painted Mombasa Blue!

First of all, I would like to say ‘pole’ to masemeji… Gor Mahia lost 1-2 to Congo United. We feel your pain but we celebrate your loss! This past Saturday, both Gor and AFC had matches. AFC was playing Bandari FC at the Kenya Ports Authority Sports Club, Mbaraki. Gor played Congo United in City Stadium, Nairobi.

Match Results: Gor Mahia 1-2 Congo United; AFC Leopards 0-0 Bandari FC

The CLAWS trust sponsored air travel for four lucky fans to watch AFC Leopards play Bandari FC, and I was among the lucky winners! . Other fans had traveled by bus on Friday night. Saturday morning was a mad rush to the airport to beat the ever present traffic on Mombasa Road. We made it in time for the 10am flight on Jetlink.

Kamle, a lucky winner of a ticket to coast, and a young fan, Ryan, at the airport waiting for the flight.

At the airport, we met other fans who were flying to coast, among them Basset Buyuka (he was an NTV news anchor at one time). There were many people who saw us in our beautiful blue and white gear and wished us all the best, though they couldn’t understand why we would fly all the way to Mombasa just to see our team play!

Ingwe Fans Mousakhulu, Mketu and Martin walk to the plane

Take off was smooth even though it was a cloudy day in Nairobi. I had a window seat so I got a number of beautiful pictures using my Samsung Galaxy S2, best phone on earth currently (but do I say!). The air hostesses served us with juice and peanuts and even before you could finish crunching them, we were landing at Moi International Airport Mombasa. The weather was agreeable and we got a cab to the hotel where most of the fans who had traveled overnight were staying.

A view of the clouds from my window seat.. breathtaking!

We were at the Mbaraki sports field in time to watch the buses carrying the players of both teams drive in. They changed into training gear and started their warm-ups. The AFC cheering squad, with its hot babes in short shorts, danced around the stadium, tireless and enthusiastic, making the Bandari cheering squad look lackluster! I guess it’s not easy to match up to the Isikuti!

Some Gor fans came and sat just below us at the spectator steps, and proceeded to amuse us for the better part of the first half. They were supporting AFC, so they claimed! They had a loaf of bread that they washed with something that wasn’t water.

The match finally got underway. We AFC fans were the majority on the grounds. We did our best to cheer on our team. The players weren’t doing their best in the first half and we hoped things would change in the second half. It was still 0-0 at half time and we didn’t want to have traveled all the way and come back with no points!

AFC fans sing as the match is about to kick-off

In the second half, the AFC players put a lot of pressure on the Bandari team. They themselves (AFC players) had pressure to perform, to give us fans at least a goal. However, most shots went wide! A number of corners were wasted, opportunities given away, shots misfired, and by the time the final whistle blew, no goals had been scored! The match ended 0-0 and we got 1 point, which put us at number 7 on the league table as of this Sunday afternoon.

Among the notable attendees of the match was one Mahmoud Abbas, the former Harambee Stars goalkeeper. Also, Brenda Mulinya and her newly wedded husband Allan Wanga took a break from their honeymoon at Watamu to watch the match. Wanga currently plays for Hoang Anh Gia Lai in Vietnam.

Later at the airport, we met the players at the waiting lounge also ready to fly back to Nairobi. I had the chance to talk to the coach, Jan Koops, who was explaining to me why we didn’t win. Suffice to say I shall not be explaining the reasons here, since I was told in confidence. You don’t belive me? Koops and I are best friends. I have a photo to prove it. See below.

Coach Koops and Savvy 'hanging out' :)