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Kimanzi steps aside from Tusker hangover

Francis Kimanzi, who stepped down as Tusker FC coach on October 14, 2015. PHOTO/File
Francis Kimanzi, who stepped down as Tusker FC coach on October 14, 2015. PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, October 14- Local giants Tusker FC’s hangover season staggered further on Wednesday when head coach Francis Kimanzi stepped aside from his role.

The UEFA-B coaching license-holder and former Harambee Stars boss decided to relinquish his position after a string of drunken results sunk to a new low last weekend when they were knocked-out of the GOTv Shield by lower division Nzoia FC.

Assistant coach, Leonard Odipo will be in charge of the team for the remainder of the season with club chairman, James Musyoki confirming to Capital Sport the former Harambee Stars tactician had not resigned.

“He has not quit the club since he has not tendered his resignation but it’s the good thing he has done since his working formula has failed to give us results.

“As a club we are concerned by the team’s performance this season but the problem is not necessarily him,” Musyoki explained the latest setback in the team’s nightmare season.

Boasting of an enviable squad by local standards and means far above the reach of domestic rivals, Tusker have appeared to consume their own brew in a wretched campaign where their expected SportsPesa Premier League title charge failed to fire as rivals Gor Mahia retained their crown.

Kimanzi, whose contract expires in December, was hired last season to reclaim the crown they last won in 2012 but even his magic could not rouse a group of talented and well paid players from their stupor as indiscipline took root within the squad.

Musyoki declared the club will not tolerate rotten apples in the team after forward and top league scorer, Jesse Were and winger, Danason Kago were suspended from the national team after being accused of sneaking out of camp.

“We are disappointed by some of our player’s behaviour because if someone calls you and tells you negative things about them, it’s something we cannot condone but we are in discussion with them,” the chairman added.

Besides the pair, teammate Osbourne Monday was embroiled in a tiff with the Anti-Terror Police Unit but later in August but was later cleared when his phone was reportedly used by a friend to call Al Shabab operatives in Somalia.

That was followed by Kago being accused by his expectant live-in girlfriend of assault days before he was due to play for Stars in a 2017 AFCON qualifier against Zambia on September 6 that saw him arrested and released from the team camp.

On the eve of the Chipolopolo game, the same player Were and another were caught up in lurid claims of a night of debauchery in the team hotel where allegations of a sex orgy were made but no arrests were made.

Their limp 5-4 exit on penalties to Nzoia in the Shield last Sunday was the last straw for the tactician who led slum boys Mathare United to league glory in 2008 before Stars to the last qualifying group phase of the South Africa 2010 World Cup.

Kimanzi, who is the most qualified coach in East Africa, went seven matches without a win in the league to see them drop sixth on 38 points with three to wrap up their season.

The former Mathare United and Sofapaka tactician joined Tusker November 2013 with the hopes of reclaiming the KPL title they last won in 2012 and the Shield that has evaded them for 22 years.

Odipo’s first task will be on Sunday when they travel to treble-chasing K’Ogalo in the first leg of the KPL Top 8 semis before aiming to end the season on a high when they take on Sony Sugar, Gor and AFC Leopards in the league.