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AFC’s Kitambi gets send off with March award

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AFC Leopards coach Dennis Kitambi receives the March SJAK/Fidelity Insurance coach of the month award. PHOTO/Courtesy

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7- Departing AFC Leopards coach Dennis Kitambi received a befitting send off earning the March Fidelity Insurance/Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) coach of the month award having led Ingwe to consecutive wins.

Kitambi won all four of AFC’s matches that month and received a unanimous vote from the SJAK football committee, winding up a wonderful month for the club.

It is the first time since the inception of the monthly awards that a coach and player from the same club have been awarded as the best with striker Ezekiel Odera having received the player of the month gong for March.

“I am really grateful for this award and it is a great way for me to sign off. I thank the players and my fellow coaches for the cooperation they gave me because it is very hard for a coach to come in when the team has been performing poorly and win,” the coach noted.

Kitambi will leave the country tomorrow where he will travel to Bangladesh to join his former boss Stewart Hall as his assistant atop tier side Saif Sporting Club.

Outgoing AFC Leopards coach Dennis Kitambi receives his March coach of the month award from Fidelity Insurance Marketing Boss Nicholas Malesi. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Over the last two weeks he has been working in a transition phase with new head coach Radolfo Zapata who joined the 13-time Kenyan Premier League champions from Botswana top side Gaborone United.

“I am confident that I leave AFC Leopards in good hands. We have worked with Zapata over the last two weeks and I am optimistic that he will continue with the good work. I didn’t want to leave the club but at times, when you get a huge opportunity for exposure you can’t let it pass,”

“There are some opportunities that money can’t buy and when you have a chance to learn in a different country, you cannot simply let it go,” the tactician added.

The Tanzanian coach who arrived in the country in November 2016 with Hall took charge of the team on interim basis after former coach Robert Matano was fired and he went on to lead them to a run of four consecutive wins though the streak has dried down.

Outgoing AFC Leopards coach Dennis Kitambi is applauded by his players after receiving his March coach of the month award. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

He noted that the results and performance of the team came as a result of hard work and belief and remains confident that he leaves the club in good hands.

“I insisted that we had to get someone with the same ideologies and I am glad that they have. We have worked with him over the last two weeks and I am confident that he can guide the club to success because we have so many good players,” the Tanzanian further stated.

Meanwhile, Zapata says he won’t change much of what Kitambi already did at the club, noting he will only add in the finer details to take the club back to the top.

“Dennis has done a very good job at the club and I am happy he got the coach of the month award because he deserves it. We will continue with what he has been doing because we can’t disrupt the rhythm now. What he has done is great for the team,” the Argentine coach noted.

Kitambi departs on Tuesday for Bangladesh and he is optimistic the AFC squad he leaves behind will vie for the title.

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