NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31- New AFC Leopards head coach Stewart John Hall has underlined his scouting policy, saying he will not sign players above 24 years as he officially took over the den on Monday.
Hall, who is looking at bringing AFC Leopards back to it golden days, said he will prefer a youthful outlook and working closely with the AFC youth team.
“There is potential and talent in Kenya. There will be no journeymen. Transfer targets will be of a particular age where they can be developed, polish, not only performing for Ingwe but can also be sold for a profit,” Hall affirmed after being unveiled by club officials.
The coach confirmed that within the next month, he will undertake a complete audit of the club as he seeks to lay a strong foundation for a proper start after the 2016 Kenyan Premier League season comes to an end.
After that, the former Azam FC coach will make a raft of recommendations to the club over what he deems fit to be changed, ranging from the training ground (which he already doesn’t like), training equipment, technical staff and above all the playing unit.
“I know Ingwe very well, the history and the tradition. I also know how long they’ve gone without success and I assure everyone I will work very hard to change the fortunes of a fantastic club and get them back on the road they deserve to be on,” he said.
The tactician, who was described by AFC Secretary General Oscar Igaida as the club’s ‘biblical Moses’, said he is ready for the new job and though he is coy on his targets for the next season has promised to bring the smile back to Leopards fans’ faces.
“I’m here because I want to be here. I’ve taken a cut in salary in personal condition because I want to be here. Ingwe is a sleeping giant and it’s a great time to take over the club because they had hit rock bottom. For a club of AFC’s stature with their fan base and passion for the club to be 13th on the log tells the whole story,” the Englishman who left Tanzania in May after six years said.
He put out a damning statement on the club’s current crop of players after watching them lose 3-1 against his former club Sofapaka on Friday at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
“I think the players lacked heart, they lacked passion and they played as almost they are confused. It’s been a difficult season and because of that some of the players seem to have lost focus and they don’t go out with clear objectives. They didn’t look like they were enjoying what they were doing and that is something we will need to work on,” he said as he analyzed his first impression of the new club.
Hall who becomes the ninth AFC Leopards coach in four years will be given freedom to choose his own assistants with former goalkeeper trainer Iddi Salim set to return and former Kenya Lionesses head coach Mike Shamiah being likely to take over the role of physical trainer.
The contracts of the two are yet to be finalized with Hall, who speaks highly of Salim saying he is still working out a relationship with them and will decide whether to retain them or not.
The new coach has however ruled out the possibility of working with another foreign coach like he did during his time in Tanzania saying there are enough good coaches within the country.
The management through chairman Dan Mule said they will hand him a five-man shortlist to pick from.
Hall has a history of working with youth teams, having at one time coach the Birmingham City FC Youth team and also worked with the Tanzanian Under-17 and Under-20 teams. The coach was also instrumental in the knitting out of the Azam Academy which is ranked one of the best in the region.
He has told Capital Sport he will work closely with Youth team coach Boniface Ambani who he says he has a lot of respect for over his success during his playing days in Tanzania with giants Young Africans.