Matano suspended as Leopards seek answers
AFC Leopards have suspended head coach Robert Matano in the wake of the club’s unpleasant performances, Citizen Digital sources confirmed Friday.
Matano was conspicuously absent from the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side’s training session at the Camp Toyoyo Grounds ahead of Sunday’s trip to Sony Sugar.
It is reported the club is pondering ending the veteran tactician’s reign at the club after just seven months amid a flurry of ‘indiscipline’ cases labeled against him.
Matano’s assistant Dennis Kitambi led Friday’s practice session and will assume all responsibilities of head coach including at the Sony clash in Awendo until the matter is determined.
Wantaway midfielder Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth has also been summoned by the club for going AWOL since Ingwe returned to the country from their CAF Confederation Cup assignment against FOSA Juniors in Madagascar.
Matano’s relationship with his own players has come under the spotlight and Gattuso is just one case in point with the player accusing him of unfairly freezing him out the team.
On Thursday, Ingwe faithful turned on the former Ulinzi Stars tactician for the second time demanding answers following their chastening 2-1 defeat to Sofapaka FC in Narok.
A similar incident was witnessed in February 18 when supporters stormed the technical area, questioning his player fielding and team tactics in the aftermath of their 1-1 draw at Posta Rangers.
With one win from their opening three matches, Leopards who last achieved a top six finish in 2013, are placed 13th on the KPL log although they have a game in hand.
Last season, his KPL woes were vindicated as he led Leopards to their eight GOtv Shield title, beating Kariobangi Sharks 2-0 in the final yet his antagonism against his own players was clear to see.
In November, he made an open rebuke against Burundian striker Alexis Kitenge as Leopards limped into finishing 11th in the league. For him, the lack of quality players had been the club’s main undoing.
The veteran tactician had promised to instigate a massive clearout at the Den and vowed to recruit heavily during the January transfer window in order to give his side a chance to compete against the best in the league.
Matano got his wish as the board backed his plan yet progress has been awfully invisible.
The 12-time champions surrendered the Super Cup title in January after losing 1-0 to bitter rivals Gor Mahia FC after a sorry display before crashing out of the CAF Confederation Cup at the first hurdle.