Matano right man for this hot Leopards seat

Monday July 17 2017

Bandari's Hassan Abdallah (left) vies for the ball with AFC Leopards midfielder Musa Mudde during their SportPesa Premier League match at Mbaraki Sports Grounds in Mombasa on July 15, 2017. Leopards won 1-0. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT |

Bandari's Hassan Abdallah (left) vies for the ball with AFC Leopards midfielder Musa Mudde during their SportPesa Premier League match at Mbaraki Sports Grounds in Mombasa on July 15, 2017. Leopards won 1-0. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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I join AFC Leopards supporters in welcoming Robert Matano on his new job as the head coach of our beloved Ingwe and also congratulate him for starting on a winning note.

If people need to be reminded, Leopards deservedly beat Bandari 1-0 at the weekend in signs of better things to come.

Matano, aka The Lion, is an outstanding football coach. I cannot speak highly enough of him, but the former central defender has a credible record in coaching football and I’m sure his philosophy will help Ingwe return to their winning ways.

My sense is that there will be much improvement in the playing unit in the near-term.

The long term is another matter that would require more than a newspaper column to tackle.

Having worked and succeeded with different teams at different levels, Ingwe supporters have high expectations of Matano.

I definitely think he is the right man for the job at the right time.

It gives me great pleasure to extend my warmest congratulations to you, Matano, as you come in to replace Dorian Marin who was sent packing after just two weeks in charge.

Known to be a no-nonsense tactician, Matano has built several sides almost from scratch, developing youngsters and turning them into championship winning material.

But as he settles down to serious business, the former Sofapaka, City Stars, Tusker and Ulinzi Stars coach will need the fans and executive’s supports to change the fast dwindling fortunes at the Den.

Equally, Ingwe needed someone who buys into the history and culture of the club, someone who appreciates the team.

Before taking over his new duties, the 53-year-old coach said: “AFC Leopards is my club. I played for them in the eighties. I have coached there before and I’m going back to manage them again.”

He added: “I know what the club means to the fans and I will make sure we start getting good results.”

Matano has joined a struggling Leopards side that had failed to register a win in eight league matches until last Saturday.

Matano is a winner. He was won two league titles twice, once with Sofapaka in 2009 and again with Tusker in 2012.

His last work station in the top tier was at Ulinzi Stars where he led the team for three seasons.

Matano is a different calibre of coach entirely and the six months contracted he signed is not enough to make him make Leopards claw again.

To turn round the club’s fortunes, Matano requires at least one year to impose his rich experience to enrich the club as he gets used to different types of individuals in the management team who may see him as a controversial man - looking at history.

Those players who have been lazy will have to pull up their socks or face Matano’s big axe.

If Matano really wants to win the league next year he must sign a few exemplary players.

Matano will need to look for those players who are able to fit in his system and he should be given unfettered command of the technical bench and direction.

Many coaches promise things which they have not experienced, but Matano, the third coach at Leopards this year, was clear when he said he will fight to break into the top four.

Considering Ingwe’s current  situation, It’s difficult to imagine they could possibly win the league, but let us join hands and give the new coach time as he embarks on his mission to return Ingwe where they belong. At the top.