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Matano sacked as AFC Leopards coach

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Robert Matano dishing out instructions on the touchline during a past Kenyan Premier League match. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15- The AFC Leopards National Executive Committee has reached a decision to fire head coach Robert Matano after what it termed as ‘indiscipline, lack of respect and failure to adhere to teamwork’ after having initially suspended him for two weeks.

The decision was reached on Tuesday after a National Executive Committee meeting and Dennis Kitambi’s performance having taken over on interim basis further gave the club’s top hierarchy more sense to make the decision.

“We have honored our part of the contract by paying him in lieu for two months having informed him of his decision. As the NEC we saw this as the best decision in the interest of the club because Kitambi took over and he has won three matches back to back,” AFC Leopards Secretary General Oscar Igaida told Capital Sport.

Igaida explained that the decision was taken because of ‘disciplinary issues’ on the side of the coach who he has accused of lacking respect for the management.

The Secretary General further explained that Matano was a ‘lone ranger’ and wasn’t a team player, failing to work with the rest of the technical bench who were uncomfortable with him.

“The technical bench felt that he couldn’t take their advice. The players as well were uncomfortable with him because he was too harsh and at times they found it difficult to play freely. Most of the time they were not themselves,” Igaida further explained.

AFC Leopards head coach Robert Matano speaking with his technical bench during the 2017 GOtv Shield final. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

He also noted; “He also failed in his primary target which was to get us to the group stages of continental football. We were not happy with how we performed against FOSA Juniors.”

Kitambi will now take charge of the team fully though on interim basis before the executive committee decides whether or not to hand him the job on a permanent basis.

“We want to assure the fans that everything is in control and there is no vacuum. We have faith in Kitambi because he has demonstrated his abilities with three wins already and we will make a decision next week. He is definitely one of the top candidates for the job. The players like him and they think he is good,” Igaida added.

Matano joined the club in July last year when the club was willowing in dire underperformance and he helped them scrape up from the relegation zone and led them to the GOtv Shield title.

However, he seemed to have fallen out with his bosses at the club at the start of the season.

AFC Leopards midfielder COllins Okoth dribbles the ball past Gor Mahia’s Humphrey Mieno during the Kenyan premier League Super Cup clash against Gor Mahia on January 28, 2017 at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Meanwhile, midfielder Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth’s suspension has been further lengthened by a fortnight. Okoth was also accused of indiscipline and absconding training including when the team was in Madagascar for their CAF Confederations Cup tie against Fosa.

“There are several requests he has made to us and we will be considering them. By the time his suspension is over we will have made a decision on whether to keep him or not,” Igaida further explained.

AFC Leopards currently sit second in the Kenyan premier league standings with 13 points, three shy of leaders Gor Mahia.

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