Despite recent sponsorship confusion and leadership wrangles in the Den, AFC Leopards defied the odds to start the season positively after rallying from a goal down to share the spoils with Mathare United (1-1) in yesterday’s Sportpesa Premier League season opener, at the Nyayo Stadium.

Both Obadiah Ndege and Andrew Tololwa returned to haunt their former clubs in a clash that also witnessed the return of AFC Leopards coach Jan Koops and his Mathare United counterpart Francis Kimanzi in the dug out for their second spells.

Ndege opened the scoring just two minutes into the game heading home Noah Abich’s well delivered free-kick to give Mathare the lead.

Leopards hit back from the spot via Tololwa after Chrispinus Oduor handled the ball in the box.In the first match at the same venue, Timothy Otieno struck a brace as Posta Rangers made a perfect start on their return to the Sportpesa Premier League with a convincing 2-0 victory over Muhoroni Youth, at the Nyayo National Stadium, yesterday.

The on-loan Gor Mahia striker scored on either half of the match to hand the Zedekiah Otieno’s men their first victory of the season.

“It is a great feeling to start the season with two goals and a victory for my team. We are looking forward to a better season,” Otieno told Feverpitch after the match.

Elsewhere, AFC Leopards chairman Dan Mule believes their Sh45million-a-year-deal with SportPesa is a game changer and wants all fans to rally behind the club.

“Too often we have found ourselves embroiled in divisive politics in the Den to the detriment of the club,” Mule said after signing the 5-year deal with betting company.“It is true with have signed the deal and Opwora is a signatory as well as Ohaga. But going forward as a club, we need to stick to our constitution, otherwise it defeats the spirit of the document,’ Mule said.

Initially, a group aligned to Matthews Opwora had unveiled a deal estimated at Sh25 million a year with Betway days before Mule and SportPesa were to announce a Sh32 million deal. However, the Sports Disputes Tribunal, which is trying to broker a truce between Mule and Opwora groups, declared the deals null and void saying would only sanction one that is beneficial to the club.

And on Friday, Mule and Opwora as co-signatories together with Sports Disputes Tribunal chair Ohaga inked an enhanced deal with SportPesa deal.