Matano: Why Leopards aren’t winning the KPL title

Godfrey Ashialiin Nairobi Tusker FC head coach Robert Matano has apportioned blame on frequent change of coaches as the main disease derailing AFC Leopards’ unfruitful mission of ending a league title drought that has now stretched to over two decades. Leopards last lifted the league title in 1998 and subsequent attempts to bag the gong have ended in premium tears. And Matano who knows the club too well submits that Leopards, Kenya’s second most successful club are a brand with rich fan base yet they haven’t been utilizing the platform for years since their last league conquest, 22 years ago. “When I was coaching Leopards, we were going to clinch the league trophy in 2018 and this was the plan, I had strategized for it.  However the problem(at the club) is infighting and personal interests from the officials. “In the league I had only played two to three matches; won and lost yet people started shouting Matano must go! This is not how it should be,” he said, adding, ” A coach should stay with a team for one to three years for one to start asking for a trophy. Consistency is the key thing here  and Leopards lack that,” Matano said. Matano who has coached more than 14 clubs as well as the national football team Harambee Stars also noted that his main weapon of success is the rich experience he has on Kenyan football. “I like winning because I’m a winner. I am the oldest coach in that league (Kenyan Premier League) and you have to go the extra mile to work hard to make sure that you have to win. It is about preparation and planning, the way you know the league and I have won trophies for that. AFC have won trophies for several years and I was there even as a young man, I have seen it with my eyes,” Matano underscored. Matano who has also coached Sofapaka, Ulinzi Stars, Re Union FC and Bidco FC just to mention a few has also advised that foreign players who sign to play for Kenyan clubs must be superior compared to the local talents otherwise there should be no need of signing them. Leopards who are under the tutelage of Antony ‘Modo’ Kimani have recently renewed the contracts of sharpshooter striker Elvis Rupia and defender Collins Shichenje. The Dan Shikanda led team are also planning to sign four experienced players to blend with the youthful side to ready themselves for a title challenge next term.

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