ASHIHUNDU: Hiring policy at Leopards highly suspect - Daily Nation

Hiring policy at Leopards highly suspect

Monday May 21 2018

Thika United midfielder Michael Mutinda (left) charges past AFC Leopards' Jafari Owiti during their SportPesa Premier League match at Thika Subcounty stadium on May 20, 2018. PHOTO |  VINCENT OPIYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Thika United midfielder Michael Mutinda (left) charges past AFC Leopards' Jafari Owiti during their SportPesa Premier League match at Thika Subcounty stadium on May 20, 2018. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
More by this Author

The Kenyan football mid-season transfer window opens next week and teams will no doubt be active in identifying or signing new players to strengthen their squads for the second leg.

We have time and again seen AFC Leopards acquire purported professionals from countries across the continent with much hype, only for the recruits to turn out to be unworthy of their reputation.

Foreign players at the Den have not lived up to the expectations of the club fans in recent years. The quality has been very low despite the money spent on them.

The technical bench must only sign top quality foreign players who can add value to the team and not players who spent most of their time at the club warming the bench.

Leopards signed five foreign players ahead of the 2018 season - Isaac Oduro (Ghana), Henry Uche (Nigeria), Baker Lukooya (Uganda), Prince Arkoh (Ghana) and Eric Kwabena Bekoe (Ghana).

At the signing of the five, fans had high expectations, but have since started doubting the acquisitions.

It’s only Lukooya who is seeing plenty of playing time.

The Ugandan being the only foreigner considered for matches, it means the others overseas are not good enough to start a match.

If a player is brought in to score goals and has not scored any 16 round of matches into the league he is more of a liability than an asset to the team.

Ingwe must think again on this question of recruiting foreign players and only sign imports from big teams and who have a proven track record.

The team management should look into allegations that some scouts at the technical bench take monies from players to sign them.

The claims were so serious at the beginning of the season that it must have affected the performance of the team. The most serious one was of some officials demanding money from the players in order to be considered for selection.

Interesting that, after the re-organization of the technical bench and management, the same players who were denied a chance to play started playing better; because they were now earning full salary. The others who were favoured by their godfathers were relegated to the bench.

There was no magic Dennis Kitambi used to inspire that players.

The club chairman and the secretary should keep a keen eye on some members of the technical bench who were reportedly involved in the recruitment of the foreign players, some carrying hidden injuries.

They include Gilbert Fiamanyo from Ghana, Austin Ekenna (Nigeria), Floribet Ndayisaba of Burundi and Alexis Kitenge; all who took long before they started playing.

The club should also consider medical examination on foreign players before they put pen to paper. The trend has also seen Ingwe fail to recruit good coaches in the past.

Before employing Rodolfo Zapata, Leopards considered Didier Gomez Da Rosa of France. He reportedly stated what he wanted to be paid per month but some technical bench members advised him to put a higher figure

Although Zapata is equally good, claims of corruption in hiring of coaches taint the image of the club.

Because of poor recruit and corruption, the burden of keeping the team reputation has been left to young stars.

At least eight of the current players left school last year or the year before.

They are Ezekiel Owade, Michael Kibwage, Marvin Omondi, Yusuf Mainge, Jeffery Odeny, Clyde Senaji, Victor Mavisi. These are part of Leopards’ future.