Muyoti and Akwana to replace Minnaert

By alex wafula
Sep 01, 2021
  • Ivan Minneart leaves AFC Leopards after six months. He is the eighth coach to be sacked by the former champions who were knocked out of GOtv Shield by Western Stima. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Ivan Minnaert has become the eighth AFC Leopards coach to be sacked. Nicholas Muyoti and Ezekiel Akwana will be interim coaches.

The Belgian was axed on Thursday by the club management due to poor results. This ends a six-month stint at the club, coming a few days after the club was eliminated from the GOtv Shield by Western Stima.

Dan Mule, the AFC Leopards chairman explained: "“We had to take the decision as an executive because we were not happy with how the team was fairing. We have not done well in the league and then we were eliminated from the GOtv Shield which now means we will end the season without a trophy.”

Ingwe are placed 10th on the Kenyan Premier League standings with 29 points. The club had hoped that with the League out of reach, they could chase the domestic cup but lost 0-3 to Western Stima.

Minnaert's departure means AFC Leopards appear to have become 'experts' in firing coaches. For the last four years, they have had eight different men at the helm.

At the beginning of the 2013 season, the team hired former Harambee Stars coach Tom ‘Timam’ Olaba taking over from Jan Koops. But the tactician never lasted. He was replaced by Belgian Luc Eymael.

Differences with the club management saw Eymael sacked before the end of the season and James Nandwa took over, leading AFC Leopards to the GOtv Shield.

But Nandwa as well found himself in the cold after facing the axe following a poor start to the season. His place was taken by Dutchman Henrik Pieter de Jongh who managed to finish the season, though on and off as his tenure also faced tribulations.

He was ultimately sacked at the start of the 2015 season, but sued the club later and was compensated for wrongful dismissal.

Former Gor Mahia coach Zdravko Logarusic took over in February last year, but was constantly on and off the team and ultimately left, Ezekiel Akwana taking over to the end of the season.

A divided club leadership saw two coaches installed in the team at the start of this season, Akwana leading one while Dutchman Koops leading the other. Ultimately, Koops was handed over the reins while Akwana was tasked with the junior team.

Koops lasted only two months as his place was taken by Minnaert. 

“I cannot say much about the sacking right now, but I don’t think it was fair. But the leadership took their decision and we can’t say much,” a dejected Minnaert said.

The club has been faced with a tumultuous period from leadership squabbles to division in the playing unit. Minnaert’s mid-season transfer activities, including the dropping of 16 players from the club created more friends than enemies.

Sources within the club say a number of the players did not like the tactician and allege there might have been some sabotage in the last few games for Ingwe.

Mule, speaking to Sports News Arena acknowledged they were dealing with some cases of player indiscipline and said action would be taken internally. “Maybe at the end of the year we might take more action,” Mule offered.