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AFC to offer Matano two-year contract

New AFC Leopards coach Robert Matano feeds instruction on the touchline during a past match. PHOTO/ Raymond Makhaya.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1- GOtv Shield champions AFC Leopards will offer head coach Robert Matano a new two-year contract after his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Matano joined the team in July from National Super League side Bidco United in a short-term deal to aid bring the sinking ship safely to shore and he has managed that, guiding them to their 10th domestic cup title and is determined to help them finish among the top eight in the league.

AFC chairman Dan Mule has told Capital Sport they have already initiated talks with the experienced tactician and are more than willing to keep him for a longer period.

“We have talked to him and he has told us he is willing to stay at the club and he has no problem. We will have further talks after the season ends to firm up contract issues. We will give him a two-year contract and then begin discussions from there,” Mule said.

Matano himself expressed interest to remain at the club, setting his sight on their CAF Confederations Cup journey next year. The tactician has made it clear he intends to make the club great again on the continental scene.

AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano feeds instructions to midfielder Harun Nyakha during his side’s Kenyan Premier League clash against Kariobangi Sharks on October 7, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“The coach has done a good job since he came in and we are happy with his output. We are determined to ensure that we have one coach throughout a season because we have had a huge turnover of late and it is not good for the success of the club,” Mule further pointed out.

Matano became AFC’s third coach this season, taking over from Dorian Marin who spent not more than a fortnight at the club after being appointed following Stewart Hall’s departure midway through the season.

In a nutshell, the 13-time Premier League champions have had more coaches since their return to top flight in 2009 than the number of trophies in their cabinet through the same period of time.

But it is a stat that Mule is eager to wipe off, saying they will stick by Matano and give him what he requires to succeed next season.

“We have four games remaining before the season ends and the focus now is to help the team finish well. After that we will sit down with him, analyze the team, know what we need and then listen to what the coach wants and work to give it to him,” Mule noted.

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AFC Leopards chairman Dan Mule (left) in a past KPL match.Photo/FILE

He also added they have talked to their sponsors, betting firm SportPesa to widen their purses especially as they prepare for the expensive journey that is continental football. Mule has also hinted the club is looking for a second sponsor to supplement what they already have.

On transfer activities, the club will be looking for a touch of experience to add on to their squad with five West Africans set to be invited to train with the club this month.

“We have identified two players from Ghana and three from Cameroon who we want to invite to train with us then the coach will make a decision on who to sign. We will sign at most only three of them. Apart from that, we are looking for a left back, a midfielder and especially two good strikers,” the club boss further said.

At the same time, the club is set to lose Ugandan midfielder Keziron Kizito to Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters, home to former Manchester United forward Dimitry Berbatov.

“He signed a two year contract so we will talk with the club and hopefully we can get some good money from the deal to help us in getting the players we want,” Mule said.

AFC Leopards team posing for a team photo before the match. Head Coach Robert Matano opted to start with Gabriel Andika in goal in favour of regular Ian Otieno. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

The club is also set to lose goalkeeper Ian Otieno who is said not to be keen on renewing his contract which expires at the end of the season. Defender Joshua Mawira is however all but set to sign a new deal.

Mule has disclosed they will not drop massively from the squad but will instead send players who are dimmed surplus to requirement on loan.

Also, the club is exploring options of having pre-season build up games in either South Africa or Zambia if finances permit, but if their budgets are ot satisfied they will play in neighboring Tanzania and Uganda.

AFC Leopards are placed 12th on the Premier League standings with 36 points and will be facing Nzoia Sugar on Wednesday afternoon at the Mumias Complex, with the target of finishing in the top eight.

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