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AFC Leopards head coach Anthony Kimani poses on the technical bench during a past Kenyan Premier League match. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

Football

AFC Leopards to offer Kimani long-term contract, not interested in foreign coach

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda says the club will offer coach Anthony Kimani a long-term contract and a war chest of strong players to go into the new Kenyan Premier League season with.

Kimani was handed over duties at Ingwe on interim basis after Rwandese tactician Cassa Mbungo left the club and managed to stabilize the ship with Leopards ranking sixth by the time the season was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He has worked under very difficult conditions and confirmed he can do the job. I don’t think we are in a hurry of getting somebody else,” Shikanda told Capital Sport.

He adds; “If somebody performs well, the best thing is to confirm him and reassure him of his position. We are okay with him going forward and we are now looking for a credible playing unit we give him and support him.”

Kimani had been working as an assistant to the Rwandese and many of Ingwe fans were jittery when he was handed the role till the end of the season as this was his first full coaching job in the top-flight.

But the youthful coach, himself a former captain at Leopards proved his mettle when he was asked to step up to the pressure plate.

Meanwhile, Shikanda says they are looking to sign a maximum of three experienced players and has confirmed the club has been in contact with some transfer targets.

“We are not looking to bring in a big number of players but we want to build the team around what we already have. We will wait and see if some players will leave but we want to keep a hold of all our players and maybe add three experienced players and three youthful ones,” Shikanda noted.

Meanwhile, he has stated the club will not come in between any player who wants to leave the club, adding they will only keep players who want to play for AFC Leopards.

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One such player who has been the subject of transfer speculation is midfielder Austin Odhiambo who is rumored to be wanting a move to arch-rivals Gor Mahia. Though the youngster denied the claims last week, sources intimate that he is keen on a move.

 “Football is a profession where you decide where you want to play. If you feel AFC is not good, then we will not stand in anyone’s way. If someone believes he is not getting the best where he is and is disgruntled, the best thing is to move,” Shikanda noted.

Shikanda has also confirmed that the club has paid most of the salary arrears owed to players, saying they have only failed to clear last month’s arrears but have given the players some bit of it.

He has also confirmed that the team has received the first instalment of payment from new league title sponsors BetKing.

Shikanda was appointed into a five-member team to look at the running of the league with the new sponsors and he says they will have their first meeting soon to scrutinize the contract further and plan on modalities of working for the new season.

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