The striker went on to score 13-goals for Ingwe before Zesco United came calling in January
AFC Leopards Chairman Dan Shikanda has revealed how he convinced striker John Makwatta to choose the club over Gor Mahia.
The striker was seemingly destined for K’Ogalo after returning from Zambia following an unsuccessful short stint with Buildcon FC. The former Ulinzi Stars player had agreed to join the 18-time Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions but the inevitable happened as the Ingwe administrator explains.
“Makwatta was close to joining Gor Mahia, everything had been agreed on apart from signing the contract,” Shikanda told NTV.
“We were struggling financially so we could not give him a huge sign-on fee. Actually, Gor Mahia had given him KSh2 million in cash and we had just KSh600,000. So we had to find a way of getting him on board but not through money.
“I had to be honest with him; Leopards is a big brand in the country and I told him what the club can offer him in terms of value and publicity is far better than the cash he will be given. And that is how we managed to sign him, a move he has never regretted.”
Makwatta left in January for Zambia giants Zesco United. In his short stint at Leopards, the Kenya international scored13 goals to keep the team on course to win their first league title in 22 years. However, Leopards will wait longer as the season came to an abrupt end owing to Covid-19.
Shikanda also explained how he plans to make fans fill the stadium.
“For the past few years, we have let down our fans and Kenyan football because we have not paraded a team that can make fans fill the stadium.
“We are building a team that we know is a young one. We only need to see it mature by bringing in two, three or four players so that when this Mashemeji fixture comes, we will have done the necessary.
“Let me tell you, in the next Mashemeji Derby both home and away, we are going to fill Nyayo National Stadium.
“As AFC Leopards, we have to prove a point because every time we meet as officials of the club and listen to what the fans tell us we have to build a team that will make them proud.”
The former striker explained how he would want to help write the club’s history during his reign.
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“I want to be remembered for laying down physical infrastructure and making AFC Leopards play the kind of football that is desirable for the fans,” added the former star.
“Fans want to be entertained in a football match and when one travels from Western Kenya to Nairobi or Mombasa let him feel the value for his money.
“It is all about entertainment.”