AFC Leopards coach Stewart Hall ignored advice to drop first choice goalkeeper Ian Otieno in favour of Gabriel Andika ahead of Sunday’s Mashemeji derby versus Gor Mahia, Nairobi News has established.
Leopards were eventually thumped 3-0 by their sworn rivals in the entertaining contest played in front of a half-full Nyayo Stadium and Otieno, traditionally a solid keeper, drew the wrath of the club fans for his shaky performance.
Formerly at Posta Rangers, Otieno was at fault for atleast the second and third goals his team conceded on the day.
For the second goal, his hesitation in a one-on-one situation allowed George Odhiambo ample time to pick his spot and place the shot.
For the third, he again reacted slowly, allowing Timothy Otieno an opportunity to head a rebound into an empty net.
“This was our worst outing this season and we say sorry to our fans. Everybody, not just Otieno played poorly,” a visibly disappointed Hall explained after the game.
It might have been a different scenario, however, had Hall heeded advice from a group of “elders” to rest Otieno on “emotional” grounds.
“We are not suggesting Otieno sold this game. From our history at this club players from Kisumu usually play very well in all the other games but get emotional when facing Gor Mahia. You can see Otieno was not himself today. Andika was the best bet for this game,” a club insider explained.