‘I am not walking away yet’: De Jongh insists he is still AFC coach, attends training sessions

By Gilbert Wandera: Wednesday, January 21st 2015 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
AFC Leopards Coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh during their KPL match against City Stars at Nyayo National Statium on Wednesday 23/07/14.PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO

AFC Leopards may have short-listed former Eritrea national team coach Dorian Marin to replace fired Pietier De Jongh but the latter is staying put.

Weeks after the club announced they have fired De Jongh, the Dutchman is still in the country and on top of that still attends the club’s training sessions.

On Monday when AFC Leopards resumed training at the Gigiri ground, De Jongh was at the venue to conduct trials for new players alongside his deputy Yusuf Chipo.

The coach said no one has officially sacked him and he therefore remains in charge with at least four months remaining before his contract expires.

“I have a contract with AFC Leopards until June 2015 and intend to carry out my part of the bargain. I am still in charge and training the team until I get an official letter terminating my contract, then I will consider what appropriate action to take,” he said.

Alternatively, De Jongh said the club will need to pay him for the remaining duration on his contract if they want to let him go.

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Club chairman Allan Kasavuli announced last December that De Jongh was no longer their coach and would unveil a new man to be in charge of the club this month.

According to AFC Leopards Secretary General George Aladwa, they are just waiting to clear De Jongh’s pending salary arrears before he leaves.

“He is not our coach any more. We have settled on Marin who is expected in Nairobi any time soon.

As for De Jongh we are committed to clearing his dues before he leaves the country,” said Aladwa.
Leopards resumed training on Monday just a few days after club sponsors Mumias Sugar paid them part of the three month salary arrears which the players have been demanding.

De Jongh’s sacking made him the 14th coach to leave the club since 2009 that is a record 14 coaches in five years.

In 2009, the same year they were promoted to top-flight football, the club sacked Gilbert Selebwa in mid-season after he helped the team to return to the top.

Selebwa’s departure saw the arrival of Edward Manoah who was with the club for only a few months before he was replaced by Nick Yakhama.

Yakhama steered the team skillfully and made it survive relegation by a whisker that season.

But at the beginning of the 2010 season, Yakhama was shoved aside and his place taken by the late Chris Makhoha who was well known for moulding young talent.

After him came Robert Matano who held the post briefly before Robert Bollen came on board. Matano came back again after Bollen was kicked out.

But Matano’s second stint was short-lived as he was replaced by Nick Yakhama who paved the way for Jan Koops and then Tom Olaba before Luc Eymael took over.