NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – Limping Kenyan Premier League (KPL) giants AFC Leopards ended their long search for a new head coach by appointing Dutchman Hendrik Peter de Jong to replace sacked James Nandwa on Thursday.
De Jong who is expected in the country on Sunday to pen down a one year deal is a youth director at the Hungary national soccer academy and has been involved in Dutch federation KNVB coaching courses in Netherlands.
Confirming the appointment, club Secretary General George Aladwa added his first assignment will be to lead the club to the inaugural Cecafa Nile Basin Cup in Sudan where Ingwe are drawn in Group B alongside Merreikh Al-Fasher, Tanzania’s Mbeya City and Elman from Somalia.
“It has been a long journey in our quest to get a new coach and we can state categorically we have finally landed on the man who is ready to commit for betterment of our beloved club.
“He is experienced having worked with the Dutch football federation as youth coach and we hope he will steer our team back to our winning ways,” Aladwa declared.
The Secretary General disclosed Briton Trevor Morgan, whom they had earlier settled upon turned down the offer due to what he claimed was pressure from Leopards fans.
“Morgan could not sustain the pressure after watching one of our matches since he requested us to give him two weeks so he can decide but unfortunately he called the chairman to decline the offer,” he alleged.
However, de Jong who will be unveiled on Monday at the team’s training base in Nairobi has been given a target to revive Leopards fortunes by mid season.
“He must deliver because our fans want results since we have not registered good league results. We hope he will work with the technical bench that is under assistant coach Abdallah Juma, who has done well since we appointed him.
“I call upon our players to dedicate themselves to the club and pull up their socks since we are paying them a lot of money and they lack nothing. Of late they have been unable to score so I hope they will know their importance at the club since Leopards is a big club.
“Our fans don’t want anything else rather than a win, if we lose a match and the players gave their all they will understand,” he concluded.
The Executive Committee has been under pressure from fans who blamed them for taking long to appoint a new coach with some invading the Nyayo National Stadium pitch last Sunday demanding the Secretary General to vacate office.
The clash was called-off in the 83rd minute as Thika United were leading 1-0 courtesy of captain Dennis Odhiambo free kick.
Ingwe who have won three matches, drawn five and lost three are sitting 12th with 14 points.
The team will depart for Sudan on Tuesday next week.