AFC Leopards Den set for another massive clearout
AFC Leopards head coach Stewart Hall is preparing for radical surgery at the end in the close season at the Den after opening his tenure with defeat against arch-rivals Tusker FC who were then crowned Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions on Sunday.
Although he was encouraged by his team’s performance at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, Hall expressed disappointment with how low the 12-time league champions have sunk after remaining stuck in 13th following the defeat.
“We have to make radical changes in the team. They are the champions and the league table doesn’t lie, position 13 is not good for such a big club.
“Personally I have never finished in such a position in any team I have coached in any country; I am always in the top two,” the former Tanzania’s giants Azam FC tactician told.
Hall acknowledged the club’s suspended players may have contributed something extra in the 1-0 loss to the newly crowned champions, but lauded the men who were available for the assignment.
“I was left with 18 players I have worked with the entire week so at the moment I can’t change anything. The executive committee suspended six players whom I had not seen play so I can’t rely on their services at the moment.
“They were regulars in the first team before so they must have been good, but I only work with players I see; it’s not my business to recall them,” the new Leopards boss explained.
Captain Lucas Indeche, Kepha Aswani, Yusuf Juma, Edwin Wafula and Charles Bruno were suspended by Leopards for two-weeks over what the Executive Committee termed as disciplinary issues.
Tactically, Hall found a big problem with the way Leopards handled set pieces, which eventually cost them when Shaffique Batambuze connected Osborne Monday’s corner for Tusker’s winner.
“Definitely we were poor on defending set pieces and coming into this game, we knew it would be our biggest challenge but we would have done better. It’s something we shall work on for a better team next year,” he said.
During his unveiling at the club’s headquarters last week, the Leopards coach said he would give a comprehensive report to the club’s leadership shortly after after conclusion of the league on which areas he needs improved ahead of the 2017 campaign.
However, the new club’s policy will see only players aged 24 years and below get the nod from the Briton in the transfer window.
After the exit of the entire technical bench a fortnight ago, Hall had no assistants in the match with 1980s Leopards star Tony Lidonde assuming the role of Team Manager, a position formerly held by Joseph Milimu.
Hall has an opportunity to register the first win at the Den in last match of the season against KPL Top 8 champions Muhoroni Youth in Mumias on November 19.
It will be the second massive cull at the Den after his Belgian predecessor, Ivan Jacky Minnaert cleared 16 players in the June window and brought 13 others but fortunes did not improve in the second half of the season accelerating his departure.