Coach Aussems still part of our plans, says AFC Leopards
AFC Leopards has maintained that Patrick Aussems remains the team’s head coach despite an extended sabbatical leave in his native Belgium.
Ingwe Secretary General Gilbert Andugu made the pronouncement in the wake of speculation that Aussems would not return to the den after the end of his vacation.
“I can assure you that Aussems is not going anywhere and remains part and parcel of the team. He is still part of our plans in the upcoming season contrary to reports from various quarters,” said Andugu.
The official further said that the former Tanzania’s Dar Simba trainer had earlier been scheduled to link up with the team tomorrow but his flight was deferred to August 24 until the conclusion of the Kenyan General election process.
“We accessed the political temperatures in the country and deemed it fit that Aussems joins us on August 24. In fact, he is the one who is advising the management on the nitty gritty of the team ahead of the tentative kick off of the national league on August 27,” he said.
Aussems has been in Belgium since the end of last season with Leopards fans pessimistic as to whether he will rejoin the 13-times league champions.
Andugu further said most of the current players had their contracts extended save for Washington Munene, Cliff Nyakeya as well as John Makwata who is on loan at Kenya Police FC, adding that the management is in the process of negotiating with them for a further stay at the club.
“We need all these players who have been an integral part of the team. Their services will be more vital and especially during this time when the team is angling to win the title that has been elusive since 1998,” said Andugu.
In the meantime, the club’s chairman Dan Shikanda has urged the team’s faithful to remain calm despite the embargo issued to the club by Fifa not to sign players until January 2023.
“We shall make do with the players available and I urge the fans to continue supporting this great club that has a rich. We hope to reach a middle ground with Fifa the soonest time possible to enable us to recruit some of the best talent both locally and internationally,” offered Shikanda.
The decision to bar Leopards from signing new players was arrived at by the world football governing body, FIFA, after the team failed to meet a 45 day- window deadline issued, to settle a debt of Sh 1.8 million that they owed Rwandan midfielder Vincent Habamahoro.
Leopards are also faced with another hurdle to clear the dues owed by their former Rwandan trainer Andre Casa Mbungo.