Ivan Minnaert enjoyed a winning start to his career as AFC Leopards head coach after the 13-time Kenyan champions registered a 1-0 victory over Bandari on Wednesday night.

The win could serve as a morale booster to Ingwe ahead of this Sunday’s first leg of the Mashemeji derby against defending champions Gor Mahia, at the Nyayo National Stadium.

It took only two minutes for Kepha Aswani to break the deadlock and help Leopards extend their unbeaten run to three games.

And after chalking up his first win, a visibly delighted Minnaert, who took selfies with Ingwe fans, quickly shifted his focus to the derby. “A win in my first game was very important. It was really good but we have just started and we need to keep going as all games will count a lot at the end of the season. Yes, we are not the best but so far I have been satisfied with what I have seen,” Minnaert told Feverpitch after the win.

“We are now going into the derby very quite with no pressure at all. Both of us are fighting for the three points, but we have seven points already. Who knew that we would have seven points after three games at this time.

“Bandari was a better side in the second half, but we contained the pressure. We still have a lot of work to do and prove in every game because at the end of the season, we must be where we are supposed to be.”

Minnaert further revealed that they have suffered an injury blow after attacking midfielder Andrew Tololwa picked up an ankle injury in the match.

Asked about how much he knows about his Sunday’s opponents Gor Mahia who played Ulinzi Stars yesterday, Minnaert said: “I cannot say we are the best, but I need to see them play first. Their coach was here today (Wednesday) so it will be unprofessional if I don’t travel to Nakuru to watch them too.”His Bandari counterpart Twahir Muhiddin blamed the dockers’ sloppy finishing for their defeat.

“We have ourselves to blame because we had more than four clear chances to win this match. We were not calm in front of goal, so we need to work on that and utilise the chances that come our way. We need to bounce back against Sony in our next match,” said a disappointed Muhiddin.

However, the former Harambee Stars coach also took a swipe at the opposing team’s tactics