AFC Leopards have appointed Hendrick Pieter de Jongh as head coach.
And de Jongh has implored club supporters not to dwell on short term results but to be patient and support the club as he rolls out his long-term strategy for the club.
The Dutchman said he was aware Ingwe fans have endured a tough season and promised to work with the players, technical bench and the management to turn around the club’s fortunes.
“I am pleased to be part of this famous club. My mission here is to build a strong team, not for the next game or for the next two weeks, but for the future. That requires concerted effort from everyone here. I am sure if we work hard we will come up again,” he said yesterday during his unveiling at the Nyayo Stadium.
De Jongh emphasized hard work, discipline and a fighting spirit as the key pillars of his strategy as he seeks to raise the club from its current position.
“Leopards has many fans, and that the team is not at a desirable place but I promise you that with time the fans will see positive results if the players cooperate then we will prove to the supporters that all is not lost,” he said.
Leopards CEO Allan Kasavuli said that they settled for De Jongh based on his experience and plans for the club.
“We have secured a long-term coaching solution. I urge fans not to put pressure on him but to be supportive as he begins his new task.”
The coach will earn a salary of Sh350,000 and will be entitled to Sh30,000 monthly in vehicle allowance and a Sh8,600 in winning allowances.
Ingwe is currently placed on 12th place in the 16-team Kenyan Premier League table, and the new coach will be in the delegation that travels to Sudan today for the Nile Basin Winners’ Cup tournament in Sudan, although the playing unit will be rather depleted.
Though present during the unveiling, Captain Allan Wanga, Jacob Keli, goalkeeper Wycliffe Kasaya and James Situma sat out during yesterday’s entire training session.
The four will not feature for the club in the regional tournament as they will be in the Harambee Stars squad that faces Comoros Island in the Africa Cup of Nations return leg.
For this, assistant coach Juma Abdalla says he will make use of winger Paul Were, striker Mike Khamati and Noah Wafula, who has returned from injury.
“We have been training without them because we knew there was a possibility they wouldn’t be available for the tournament. Our major problem is the upfront where we will be without two strikers but Wafula is now fit again and is rearing to make a comeback so I will give him that chance. I also have options in Khamati and Were so we hope we will do just fine in the tournament,” he said.
Leopards will contest the inaugural tournament that begins on Thursday alongside 15 other CECAFA member teams. Ingwe, who have won the club competition five times in their history, have been pooled in Group B alongside Tanzanian side Mbeya City, Elman of Somalia and Merreikh Al-Fasher of Sudan.
The tournament’s winners will get the tournament’s first trophy and Shs2.6 million ($30,000) cash prize.
The new coach has been christened Lichungu, a corruption of his last name, De Jongh.
The 44 year old coach has played for NAC Breda and Sparta Rotterdam in his native Holland and at one point coached the youth national team. Pieter has been taken KNVB coaching courses and was the youth Director at Hungarian National Soccer Academy before tying the knot with Ingwe.
PLAYERS: Martin Imbalambala, Charles Okwemba, Patrick Matasi, Jackson Sale, Edwin Wafula, Paul Were, Musa Mudde, Mike Khamati, Eric Masika. Oscar Kadenge, Joseph Kadenge, Augustine Etemesi, Titus Wamalwa, Benerd Mang’oli, Noah Wafula, Abdalla Juma, Austine Ikenneh, Martin Musalia, Khalid Jumaan, Victor Odhiambo
OFFICIALS: Hendrick Pieter (Coach), Jumah Abdalla Swaleh (Ass Coach), Patrick Ngusale (Doctor), Richard Madegwa (Team Manager), Carolyn Andisi Muyunzu (NEC), George Aladwa-Head of Delegation (NEC), Samuel Peter Imbwaka Limisi (NEC)