By Gilbert Wandera
AFC Leopards have recalled part of its technical bench to Nairobi from their Mumias camp amid claims of internal sabotage in the team.
Leopard’s chairman Alex Magelo revealed on Monday assistant coach Nicholas Muyoti, team manager Bernard Onyango, goalkeeper trainer Mohammed Fwaya, Technical Advisor Noah Wanyama will be grilled over claims they were interfering with team selection.
“We have carried out our investigations and even talked to the players and what comes out is that the four have ganged up against head coach Jan Koops and overrule his decision on the starting line-up and substitutions.
“This is why we have seen situations where some players are not played in their positions and those who are not supposed to play are fielded,” he claimed on Monday.
Using Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Western Stima as an example, Magelo said defender Amon Muchiri was not supposed to start the match, but Koops was forced to start him ahead of the more experienced Abbas Kiwalabye.
“It was also wrong to substitute Charles Okwemba very early in the game after he was played in an unfamiliar position. We cannot allow this to go on and that is why we want head coach Jan Koops to handle the team alone in Mumias as we investigate the matter.
“As a club we are concerned about this performance and unless we take decisive action now, we may not achieve our goal of winning the league title,” he said.
Magelo also denied that the players were not committed to winning the title as claimed by a section of fans, but admitted that there are one or two who are undisciplined.
“It is true that there is one player who has a drinking problem but we are talking to him. He also had this problem before joining us in the mid-season transfer window. We are addressing the issue but I am confident that the rest of the players are fully committed,” said Magelo.
Contacted, Wanyama denied the claims and said he has never influenced who is to be fielded.
“When the coach comes up with his starting line-up he shares it me to okay and then I give advice on substitution if necessary. I don’t even go to camp with the team,” he said.
Team manager Bernard Onyango also denied the claims but admitted that there has been a difference in opinion over certain substitutions but insisted that it is healthy for the team.
“Koops always makes the final decision on matters touching on the team after we have adviced him. However, there have been times when we have differed but this is normal and is a sign of a healthy relationship between us,” said Onyango, a former international striker.
Koops’ assistant Nicholas Muyoti distanced himself from the claims saying it is the head coach that has the final decision on who is to start for every game.
“We have been working very well and these claims are only coming up because we have lost a game,” Muyoti told FeverPitch.