Kenya AFC Leopards’ Levis Opiyo earns Trucha praise after Bandari FC display

AFC Leopards coach Tomas Trucha praised goalkeeper Levis Opiyo for coming out of the Mashemeji derby ‘mess’ to keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 FKF Premier League victory against Bandari FC at the new Dandora Stadium on Sunday.

The former Posta Rangers keeper headed into the round of 28 fixture having been blamed by a section of Ingwe faithful of ‘gifting’ their rivals Gor Mahia a goal in their 1-0 defeat on April 13. During the 95th derby at Nyayo Stadium, Opiyo’s blunder allowed Austin Odhiambo to score the only goal of the game enabling K’Ogalo to seal a double over their bitter rivals, having won the first round meeting 2-0.

After the game, a section of Ingwe fans flocked to social media, calling for the club to terminate his contract. It later emerged that Opiyo had requested to leave the Den owing to the attacks on social media but coach Trucha stuck with the player and gave him a chance to redeem himself against the Dockers, which he took with both hands.

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Opiyo stood out by producing a man-of-the-match display, denying Bandari many times, and keeping his 10th clean sheet of the season. Speaking afterward, Trucha said: “I want to send my compliments to Levis (Opiyo), it was not easy for him after the derby but I gave him the chance to redeem himself and he did it in style.

“He kept another clean sheet, and he is now on 10 clean sheets for the season, and that is not easy, especially after what he went through after the derby defeat, I always give support to all my players, and I am happy Levis is proving to be the best at his position. I will stick by him and let us see how he handles the situation until the end of the season.”

At the final whistle of the game Ingwe won 1-0 courtesy of a Clifton Miheso effort to register their 10th victory of the campaign, Ingwe fans looked to apologise to Opiyo by praising his display. Reacting to the fans’ positive reaction, Trucha said: “It was good for the fans to react positively and shout out his name in praise at the final whistle, mistakes are part of the game, and mostly keepers are always at fault when they make mistakes but for strikers, they always get a chance to score in the next game if they make mistakes.”

The win enabled Ingwe to jump above Kakamega Homeboyz to position six of the 18-team table with 41 points, accumulated from 10 wins, 11 draws, and seven defeats. Opiyo will get another opportunity to win over the fans and keep another clean sheet when AFC Leopards take on FC Talanta in a league fixture on Sunday.


Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with en.Africatopsports.com.

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