Leopards prepare January wishlist amid Matano exit reports

AFC Leopards executive are set to convene in a fortnight to receive a list of target players that will bolster their squad for next year’s continental amid reports Head Coach Robert Matano could be on his way out of the club.

The Leopards will represent Kenya at the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup by virtue of winning this year’s GOtv Shield with the club’s focus now is building a squad that will challenge for honours at the African secondary club football competition.

Chairman Dan Mule said they will receive the list of players as recommended by the technical bench ahead of an impending ‘massive overhaul’ as earlier suggested by Matano.

“The most important thing is to recruit because we have clearly been under par this season,” Mule told Citizen Digital.

The Leopards have endured yet another shambolic Kenyan Premier League (KPL) campaign and currently sit 12th on the log with four matches left before the close of the 2017 season.

Last season, Ingwe finished 13th and have been accosted by familiar failings this term especially in attack where they have recorded a league-low 20 goals scored in the KPL.

The Leopards will be keen to hold on to Matano who led them to their first silverware in four years when they defeated Kariobangi Sharks 2-0 to win the 2017 GOtv Shield.

The Lion as he is fondly known has attracted interest from Tusker FC. The deposed champions are keen to prise their target man away from the Den as they look to replace George ‘Best’ Nsimbe whom they suspended ‘indefinitely’ following a string of unimpressive results.

Matano, a former Ulinzi Stars tactician, has consistently decried the lack of quality players at the Den and vowed to clear out the dead wood during the January transfer window yet an offer from Tusker could be all too tempting.

Reports indicate Matano has been given the freedom to identify his choice of players he would signed at the Den. The management has also declared it will not meddle in the team’s affairs in matters concerning player fielding.

He recently took a swipe at the management for showing little commitment when they were forced to travel on to Narok on matchday and ended up losing 2-0 to Sofapaka FC.

Financial challenges had forced the Leopards to make the away trip pitch just hours before facing tackling Sofapaka. Consumed in fatigue, Leopards hardly put up a fight to stop Sofapaka.

Their weariness and lack of alertness was quickly exposed as they conceded their first goal inside two minutes before another went in the 19th and only recollected enough to keep the scoreline at that by full time.

“It (travelling on match day) affected so much indeed. The summary of our match today, simply put, is we played badly from the start. The players did not have time rest, take lunch and prepare for the match yet our opponents have been camping here for almost a week.

“I challenge the leadership to do their part while the technical bench and players do their best to register good results. Everyone knew we were to play here and something should have been done to avoid what we are witnessing,” Matano lamented at the time.

The management is however making plans for their return to the continental stage well in advance and have began visa processing for all their players and staff.

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