AFC Leopards, one of Kenya’s most storied football clubs, finds itself entangled in a web of controversies that have contributed to its recent struggles on the pitch.
The club’s fans are divided over the alleged curse cast by a former coach, Sunday Kayuni, who left the team under a cloud of unpaid dues back in 1998.
Kayuni, a Tanzanian national, was the mastermind behind AFC Leopards’ last title victory more than two decades ago.
However, his departure was marred by a payment dispute, leading to whispers of a curse that has haunted the club ever since.
While some fervent supporters believe in the supernatural, attributing the team’s dismal performance to Kayuni’s alleged curse, others dismiss it as mere superstition, emphasizing the need for the players to step up their game.
The controversy has resurfaced amidst the club’s current struggles in the league.
AFC Leopards has not won a single match in the past seven league games, a worrying trend that has put them on the edge of relegation. Frustrated fans, desperate for a change in fortune, have taken to social media, urging the club’s management to settle Kayuni’s unpaid dues, believing that it might lift the supposed curse.
Amidst the uproar, AFC Leopards’ management, represented by Secretary General Gilbert Andugu, remains nonchalant, citing a lack of records regarding Kayuni’s outstanding payments.
“I hear he is in Tanzania but we don’t have records. Now that we are not doing well in the league, it is not strange issues like this will keep coming up,” said Andugu during an Interview with Nairobi News.
This lack of transparency has only added fuel to the fans’ discontent, leaving them questioning the club’s integrity and financial management.
In an attempt to reverse their fortunes, the management has dismissed the current coach, Tom Juma, alongside a section of the technical bench.
However, the fans remain skeptical, believing that the root cause of their misfortunes lies in the unresolved past.
Some supporters argue that paying Kayuni his dues would not only be a gesture of goodwill but also a way to potentially break the curse that looms over the team.
“This situation we are in looks like a curse. We should think twice on this issue. Let Kayuni be paid his dues. Let every fan contribute Sh100 so that we pay him,” a fan, namely Juma Harun, wrote on Facebook.
On the other side of the divide, there are fans who refuse to be swayed by superstition. They emphasize that the players must take responsibility for their performance, irrespective of any alleged curses.
“That’s not the excuse to fail to perform. Yaya Toure’s manager reportedly cursed Manchester City but the team went on to win the UEFA Champions League,” opined a fan namely Dan Lugz.
Meanwhile, Sunday Kayuni, now a football instructor associated with the Confederation of African Football (Caf), has distanced himself from the ongoing drama, urging the club to focus on rectifying its internal issues.
“It’s been a long time since they won the title, and they should look at where they went wrong and correct themselves by making good signings and organizing themselves,” he told Tanzanian publication Mwanaspoti.