Aussems blames players strife for debut league loss
Newly appointed AFC Leopards head coach Patrick Aussems says poor preparations for his opening Kenyan Premier League match against Bandari FC made him record an awful start.
William Wadri’s two goals were all Andre Casa Mbungo’s men needed to beat Leopards 2-1 on Friday, marking their first loss under the former Simba Sports Club coach.
The Belgian, who took over from Anthony Kimani who resigned over a week ago, feels the match was lost in the go-slow staged by his players earlier in the week.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday training sessions were disrupted by the go-slow, as the players demanded for payment of their January salaries.
“When you prepare for such a match with only one training session, you for sure know it is not enough especially when you are travelling all the way from Nairobi to Mombasa. The positive thing about it is that the problem has been sorted so we now go to Nairobi to prepare for the next match with full focus,” said the coach, openly showing his disappointment with the result.
While Kimani’s abrupt exit could be interpreted as a major reason for the disarray at the den, Aussems finds no setback in the youthful tactician’s decision to resign immediately after his arrival.
“There is no problem at all. When the guy (Kimani) decided to leave, he could only be granted his wish. I however have a very good staff to work with, TJ (Tom Juma) and the rest understand the environment so well so this cannot be a reason to worry about.”
Juma, fondly called by local fans TJ, was active on the bench as usual during the Bandari loss at the Mbaraki Sports Club, and Aussems appears to be liking his coaching role although Leopards’ management wants him as the Operations Manager.
On the technical aspect of the match, Aussems was unhappy with his charges for what he called ”shouting bluntness” in the attack.
“We did not create chances and the few especially in the second half having already made the simple defensive mistakes that cost us the goals. We have to work a lot, ahead of our next two matches next week because we need to take the six points,” he offered.
A particular trend where Ingwe are struggling to score or win when their lead striker Elvis Rupia is not on the scoresheet is not a bother to him, but is worried with standards he has seen in the league since arrival.
“I have not been here for long to give a concrete assessment but what I saw during the derby (Leopards vs Gor Mahia) was quite a low technical show. There is a lot of work to do.”
Leopards travelled by air to Mombasa on Friday morning for the afternoon match, and were back in Nairobi by the evening in an effort to avoid further disruption of preparations for Wednesday match against bogey rivals Kakamega Homeboyz.
Aussems hopes he can be the game changer at Leopards in the hunt for the league title, last won 22 years ago. The start however, with the off-pitch issues he has witnessed even before settling well, casts a shadow of doubt on his mission to deliver the title.
He could not confidently answer Citizen Digital if he is indeed the man to break the jinx during the post-match interview at Mbaraki, his facial expression betraying his paradoxical thoughts – perhaps it could be possible but difficult going by the experience so far.