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De Jongh missing as Ingwe step up pre-season

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NAIROBI, Kenya, January 22 – The fate of AFC Leopards’ Coach Henrik Pieter de Jongh continues to hang in the balance after club chairman Allan Kasavuli told Capital Sport they are yet to officially terminate his contract.

Kasavuli confirmed that in their Executive Committee meeting held on Monday, it was decided they will no longer be needing his services for the new season.

“We met as Executive Committee and resolved we have to move forward with a new technical department. We will meet De Jongh in the course of the week to let him know.

“We are not in a hurry to find his replacement at the moment we are concentrating on rebuilding our team and  strengthen the areas that needed much attention,” Kasavuli who said they have already received over five applications for the job underscored.

Reports has it that De Jongh is set for the axe with a Romanian coach being lined up to replace him, but the Dutchman was quoted earlier in the week saying he is still in charge of the team and is un-aware of any impending changes.

However, he never attended training on Thursday and no one seems to know of his whereabouts.

Assistant Coach Yussuf Chippo who conducted the morning session said, “Well, we have not seen him but that is not a matter I should comment on, but leave that to the office.”

Ingwe stepped up their preparations even as they have to fight off with the fact they started training almost a fortnight later than everybody else due to a stand-off in the clearance of the players’ allowances.

“Those were challenges that we managed to overcome and now we are focusing on preparing for the new season. We might be late in our preparations but I’m sure we will catch up. We are working hard round the clock to get the players ready,” Chippo who conducted the morning training session said.

Harambee Stars forward Jacob Kelli, winger Noah Wafula and keeper Martin Musalia who were said to be eying a move out of the club trained with the rest of the squad and looked in high spirits.

Humphrey Mieno was the only notable absentee with a number of players including Ugandans and Nigerians as well as axed KCB midfielder Peter Wainaina, City Stars’ striker Justus Basweti also present at the training, trying out their luck on whether they could be signed.

“We have received quite a number of players in training but we have not yet made a decision on who to sign. We want to give them a chance to show themselves and after that, we will make a decision on who we get into the team. We only want to have the best,” Chippo pointed out.

Leopards finished the season without winning a single trophy and that is exactly the challenge newly appointed Chippo wants to take on. “We have to win at least one trophy this season. It is not easy, especially the league because it is a marathon and not a short sprint, but all in all, we have to get some silverware.”

Ingwe on Tuesday signed a two year deal worth Sh3m (USD32,714.7) with Sports Edge Apparel that will be sponsoring their kit and also get 20 percent profit from the merchandise sold.

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