NAIROBI March 18 – Kenya Premier League champions Sofapaka have sacked coach Robert Matano.
Former KCC Uganda coach Sam Ssimbwa has been appointed the new head coach on two year contract but assistant coach Bobby Ogolla will keep his post. Ssimbwa is the Ugandan national team assistant coach.
Club president Elly Kalekwa confirmed his sacking on Thursday saying the club had opted not to renew Matano’s contract.
“We decided that we needed a new man to take charge of the team and we had to let Matano go. We thank him for the wonderful service he has given the club but it is time to move on,” he said.
The news come at the end of a tumultuous few weeks for the club during which they lost two of their last three matches amid rumours of unrest and a player revolt in the dressing room.
Matano has been missing from the bench for the last three matches due to illness and only earlier this week, it was said that he had requested for another week off to complete his recovery.
“Those problems will now be sorted because if the new head coach will put everything in order,” said Kalekwa adding, “If the leader is in control and focused, then the rest of the team will follow.”
He added that he settled on Ssimbwa based on his past record, “The new coach has achieved a lot in Uganda and he has the necessary experience of handling a club of the stature of Sofapaka. Also he has undergone training in Europe and I feel he can take us to the next level.”
Forty two year old Ssimbwa did his coaching courses in Cyprus in 1995 and Germany in 1996 and left KCC in November last year.
The sacking represents an astonishingly downturn of fortunes for Matano who last year successfully guided the club to its maiden league crown. Known as a strict disciplinarian, Matano guided Sofapaka to winning the 2008 nationwide title to gain promotion to the premier league in 2009.
Backed by the bottomless pockets of Kalekwa, Matano brushed aside stiff competition to win the league crown.
Massive recruiting over the off season saw star players like Edgar Ochieng, Anthony Kimani, Thomas Wanyama, Laurent Tumba, and Abass Akinyemi and this is said to have been the genesis of Matano’s problems.
A poor performance against KCB saw him rip through his players accusing them of being over confident but he now seems to have lost his job to player power.