Matano ready to make ‘Leopards claw again’

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By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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Newly appointed AFC Leopards coach Robert Matano has vowed to turn the club’s fortunes once he takes over the reins at the Den.

The former Tusker, Sofapaka, Ulinzi Stars and Nairobi City Stars coach on Tuesday coach accepted a six-month deal to change the fast dwindling fortunes of AFC Leopards but he will only report to his new work place once he clears with his current employers – National Super League side Bidco United.

Matano, who joined Bidco two month ago from City Stars, said he is still coaching the Thika-based side who have a league match this weekend against Mosca.

“AFC Leopards is my club. I played for them. I have coached there before and I’m going back to manage the team again,” said Matano, 53, who handled Ingwe between 2010 and 2011.

“I know what the club means to the fans and I will try to make sure we get good results.”

Matano, popularly known as The Lion, will be joining a struggling Leopards side that has failed to register a win in nine league matches with the latest being a 2-0 loss to debutantes Kariobangi Sharks last weekend in Nakuru.

The club on Tuesday sacked team manager Tony Lidonde and goalkeepers’ trainer Alex Mwangi a few hours before assistant coach Dennis Kitambi resigned.

The Tanzanian opted to resign after falling out with the club management who had relegated him to the position of team manager to replace Lidonde.

Kitambi, a former Azam FC assistant coach, was appointed to the position of assistant coach at Leopards in January 2017 on recommendation of former club head coach Stewart Hall who he worked with in Tanzania.

He retained his position when Hall left in June but following Tom Juma’s appointment as interim coach and the arrival of Matano, Kitambi’s position at the club was untenable.

Following departure of the trio, Juma, who has been the acting coach following the dismissal of Romanian Dorian Marin, is the only coach remaining at the club.

Matano has won the Kenyan Premier League title twice, with Sofapaka in 2009 and Tusker in 2012. His last workstation in the top tier was at Ulinzi Stars where he led the team for three seasons before they parted ways at the end of last season.

Matano is the third coach at Leopards this year.

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