NAIROBI, February 26 – Newly signed AFC Leopards head coach Ivan Jacky Minnaert is determined to guide the SportPesa Premier League giants back to glory after penning a two-year deal.
The Belgian, who takes over from Dutchman Jan Koops said his main objective is to steer Ingwe to their 14th national title as well as producing players for the national football team.
Minnaert will be deputised by Kenya’s ex-internationals and former Leopards players John Busolo and Nicholas Muyoti in the technical bench.
“I have a lot of experience in Africa. My main objective will be to give Leopards back the lost glory because it’s long time since they won a major title.”
“I’m aware the expectations are high but we are going to fight for the title and develop players to be ready for the European market. I will try each year to help players achieve their dreams of playing in European leagues,” the UEFA Pro License holder, underscored.
Minnaert joins Leopards from Rwandese top flight league side Rayon Sports on a renewable contract effective March 1.
The fate of Koops who was at the helm of the team’s first two matches, guiding them to one draw and a win remains unknown as the club’s officials, said he will be redeployed to do other duties.
“We believe the new coach will take Ingwe to the next level. Help us set the under 20 team and the club’s academy. Our vision is to ensure we participate in the continental competition so we expect a lot from him.”
“Koops is part of our family and we are going to give him other assignments. He is a good coach but we have found somebody better and we have not sacked him,” Leopards co-chairman Mathews Opwora declared.
Minnaert’s first assignment will be against GOtv Shield champions Bandari FC on Wednesday next week in Nairobi before facing an acid test against bitter rivals Gor Mahia in the ‘Mashemeji Derby’ first-leg March 6.
The coach, who has 15 years of experience, has handled three teams within a span of five years having managed Djoliba (Mali), Al Itihad (Libya) and Rayon Sports (Rwanda).