Leopards to seek coach, players outside ‘Mulembe Nation’

Leopards to seek coach, players outside ‘Mulembe Nation’

After accepting the painful reality that ‘home is not always best’ stumbling Kenyan Premier League (KPL) giants AFC Leopards are planning to recruit a top notch coach as well as key players from outside the so-called ‘Mulembe Nation’ in a bid to steady the sinking ship next season.

Despite heavy investment in the squad and hiring of Belgian coach, Ivan Jacky Minnaert, Ingwe have put together their worst campaign since the KPL was established in 2007, hovering above the danger zone in 12th (24 points) as opposed to fighting for honours.

With Minnaert now gone and the interim coaching team of club favourite duo- Ezekiel Akwana and Nicholas Muyoti- failing to steer the 12-time national champions out of choppy waters, Chairman Dan Mule has promised another radical surgery at the Den with a foreign twist.

According to the Ingwe chief, Leopards will not sanction the signing of untested players from outside and instead bring those holding regular places in their national teams.

“Our problems have been perennial and so we are definitely going to deal with them immediately when the season ends now that we have investigated and discovered what is ailing Ingwe.

“I’m not going to reveal now but the good thing is that we now know what the problem is and so we want to start from there,” Mule maintained.

With squad indiscipline rocking the Den for much of the season, critics have singled out having the bulk of players who hail from their bedrock support of the western region of the country, colloquially known as ‘Luhya-land’ or ‘Mulembe Nation’, has made them breed an attitude of entitlement that has diminished their focus.

Last Saturday Akwana alluded to this when he slammed the current crop for not valuing the revered blue and white Leopard strip and being content with only earning good pay.

Mule confirmed a no-holds-barred meeting at the end of the year will be held to thrash out a long term strategy among the club’s stakeholders besides outlining a roadmap to stem the rot.

 

“We have already decided that any player who will join Ingwe must be a national team player in his own country. We are not just going to bring in every Tom, Dick and Harry who eventually come and instead of shining, they flop,” Mule stressed.

He maintains performances on the pitch will only improve when the team strikes a balance between home grown players and those from other regions or nations.

On the skirmishes that broke out on Saturday when Leopards were clawed 1-0 by Western Stima, Mule acknowledged fans had a right to protest against poor results but should not engage in hooliganism to air their grievances.

“When the team travels all over the country to honour matches, they are the people who dig into their pockets to pay for their own fare, accommodation and buying tickets,” he emphasised.

As part of diversifying their talent reservoir, Leopards will tour Eastern and Central Kenya besides the Western region during the off-season to identify and recruit quality youngsters.

Team Manager, Joseph Milimu, separately came to the defence of Akwana and his bench after fans criticised them for squad selection on Saturday when Stima inflicted a third defeat of the season, twice in KPL and in the GOtv Shield.

The former Ingwe captain decided to start the team captain, Bernard Mang’oli as well as John Ndirangu from the bench in a decision that did not go well with a section of fans who demanded explanations from the former Sofapaka and West Kenya coach.

Milimu declared every player that started on match-day earned their place for work put in during training and on merit.

“We are aware that those plans are there but now to me as the Team Manager, the new coach should be able to work with the technical team so that we may go forward,” he advised on the search for the new man.

latest stories