AFC Leopards have fired their coach Ivan Minnaert and placed his assistant Akwana Ezekiel in an acting capacity before they find a suitable replacement. Ivan Minnaert was sacked due to a sequence of unpleasant results having led the team to 8 wins, eight draws and they had lost seven matches in his run as the coach.
The club moved to quote section 7 (b) of the club contract with the coach, that states: “If the head coach is guilty of any serious and persistent misconduct, this contract shall be terminated by the club, in this case, the club shall be required to give any notice whatsoever or make any payment in lieu.”
Leopards also invoked section 7(c), which says: “If the results of the team continue to be undesirable, the head coach will be required to show cause why the contract should not be terminated, failure of which the management, will terminate the contract immediately, with no financial or any other consequence on the club in respect to this termination except of payment of days worked up to the day of termination.”
Oscar Igaida, who is the club’s secretary general said Minnaert failed to reply to a notice on August 31 to give a reason why he should not be fired, forcing them to relieve him of his duties. Ivan began his reign five months ago but things did not work out for him as expected, with his promise of bringing back Ingwe to their deserved status hitting the wall.
Minnaert’s nadir could have come earlier when his Leopards side came to within seconds of a shock defeat to unheralded division three side Mumbi Nationalle in the round of 32 of the GOtv Shield. However, a header from Eugene Ambulwa at the death spared them from defeat in a match that eventually ended in Leopards’ favour from the spot kicks.
The Belgian never really mastered the art of dealing with the so-called inferior teams with another defeat at the hands of Nairobi City Stars and most recently a 4-1 walloping by Kakamega Homeboyz blemishing his record and setting the ball rolling towards his ultimate dismissal.
The elimination that the club faced at the first stage of the KPL Top 8 by Ulinzi stars was another low point for Minnaert. The dark haired Belgian often made inexplicable selection of his squad with the constant benching of club leading scorer Kepha Aswani a cause of consternation and frustration for the player himself and the fans alike.
It was Aswani, who orchestrated from the bench Minnaert’s greatest day in the Leopards dug out aside from his maiden win as he scored twice in a come from behind 3-2 victory over Ushuru, a result that like many previously proved to be drawn falsely.