Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Matano Sacked

Reports circulating in the media indicate that the Leopards tactician has been fired by th Executive Committee of the team.

Supersport reports

by Fred Maingi 24 April 2011, 19:30

AFC Leopards sacked coach Robert Matano with immediate effect just hours after the team had lost 1-0 to Congo United in Mombasa. 

Club secretary Josphat Bukachi told SuperSport.com on Sunday evening that Matano had been sacked due to the team's poor performance in recent matches where Leopards had lost three of their last four matches, "'Our performances have been below our expectations and we have decided to try someone else and see what he can do".

Assistant coach Elliud Omukuyia will take over in the interim.

Club Chairman Alex Ole Magelo confirmed Matano's axing accusing him of bringing friction in the team. 'I'm told there was a go-slow by some players who were against Matano's style of coaching and his high handedness. In such a situation, you have to take action since the team was losing matches,” observed Magelo. 

He added that the club management read sinister motive after Matano travelled alone from Nairobi to Mombasa and yet there was special travelling arrangement for the entire team, " We can't continue losing. It appears Matano had his own preferred players since the entire club is disturbed by his tendency of benching our best defender Martin Imbalambala and yet he was not injured." 

"When Matano took over the team, he chased away almost the entire starting line-up. He has been working alone which I cant accept. We need unity, we need to work as a family and when it reaches a point where players don't want you, it means there is a problem,” averred Magelo. 

The chairman also raised issue with the changing of match officials in their match against Congo United at the 11th hour, "We will write a protest letter on Tuesday to KPL. We want to be told why the referee was changed in the last minute. My team was denied a clear penalty and we feel there may have been something sinister behind the whole exercise.” 

The Standard reports

"Yes he is gone," said AFC Leopards chairman Alex Ole Magelo confirming the sacking of coach Robert Osebe Matano after Ingwe’s 1-0 defeat to Congo United.

Asked what he thought of his sacking, Matano said: "They have made their decision. I respect it. I leave the technical bench with my head held high, but as you know once a leopard always a Leopard."

To some, the decision to fire him may be unexpected while to others the writing was on the wall after Leopards lost to Western Stima and KCB while the loss to minnows Congo United was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Asked why they decided to fire the man who calls himself a ‘lion’ (for according to him, he cannot be a hyena which runs away from problems), Mr ole Magelo said: "His fielding is not good. The team has not played to its potential because some players are left out when they should be playing."

He added: "Fans are on my neck. They want results and we had to make a decision which is: Matano’s time at AFC Leopards is over."

The irony of it is that Matano, then officially Ingwe Technical Director, elbowed out Belgian Robert Bollen after Tusker took AFC Leopards to the cleaners on match Day One of the KPL citing poor fielding.

Although his sacking mirrors the classic expression "in by the gun out by the gun", Matano maintains he did nothing wrong to warrant the boot.

"What if we had won? Leopards were denied an obvious penalty early in the game, which could have changed the complexion of the tie. The team created so many scoring opportunities yet they faile to convert them. I will always wish them well no matter what certain people think of me," Matano told FeverPitch.

If the writing was on the wall, then the first graffiti was painted on April 10 when after the 1-0 loss to KCB at the City Stadium despite putting in a decent display, and a section of fans chanted, "Matano Must Go" slogan.

Within seconds, another group of other fans chased away the chanting pockets.

A week later at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi City Stars dragged Ingwe along a leash for 90 minutes, but were beaten by two Hugo Nzangu Nzoka clinical goals, a result that was given respectability by John Amboko’s own goal in the 2-1 defeat.

Although Ingwe faithful go what they wanted — three points, they were unhappy with the pedestrian manner the team had played. One fan made his opinion known, which Matano took offence and had to be restrained by a cabal of Leopards security from a face-off.

Up came the trip to Mombasa on Friday and Leopards team bus left without him. The officials explained that the ‘lion’ would link up with the team later for he remained behind to see a doctor and that they would book him an air ticket if his health allowed.

As it were, the ‘lion’ followed the team to Mombasa via Mash Bus where he got the boot.

Nairobi Star reports

While Tusker press on in the KPL race, Leopards coach Matano is made to pay high price for loss to Congo Boys. It probably never crossed Gilbert Selebwa’s mind that his efforts to make an impressive start at his new job would result in someone else losing theirs.

Selebwa masterminded Congo United’s first Kenya Premier League win as they beat his former club AFC Leopards 1-0. The result saw current Leopards coach Robert Matano lose his job as a consequence.

That is how high the stakes are in the top flight league. Just one week ago Congo parted ways with Gideon Ochieng, their coach, after a 4-0 thrashing by KCB, Matano now joins him on the jobless corner. The maiden win saw Congo move out of the bottom of the table currently occupied by Nairobi City Stars who, though ,have a game in hand.

While attention might be focussed on Matano’s dismissal, Tusker continued their relentless march toward a ninth ever league crown as they beat high-flying Western Stima thanks to two goals from Maurice Odipo that saw the brewers notch an unbelievable seventh win in eight matches.

Daily Nation reports

Robert Matano became the second coaching casualty after AFC Leopards were stunned 1-0 by Congo United on Sunday, the debutant Mombasa club’s first Kenyan Premier League win of the season.

It has been an uphill struggle for Congo who fired their coach Gideon Ochieng last weekend and nothing seemed to be working for them.
But new coach Gilbert Selebwa seems to have come with new hope as he led them to victory on Sunday and exacted sweet revenge on his former employers who showed him the door despite his efforts to haul them back into the premiership from the Nationwide League.

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