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Kimanzi, ‘Morocco’ among four coaches shortlisted for ‘vacant’ AFC Leopards job

Twelve-time Kenyan Premier League champions AFC Leopards have shortlisted four coaches to replace the “suspended” Rodolfo Zapata.

Nairobi News understands that the shortlisted candidates are Mathare United coach Francis Kimanzi, Medo Melis of Nakumatt FC and former coach Dennis Kitambi alongside Zanzibar national Hemed “Morocco” Suleiman.

This even as the club management remained coy on reports of a new coach taking over from Zapata and the Argentine’s future at the club.

“We’ve not approached any coach yet, it’s too early because we still have two matches to go,” Leopards’ organizing secretary Timothy Lilumbi told Nairobi News.

Zapata was sent on administrative leave Friday last week after falling out with the club management.

The 52-year-old has since announced his exit from the club on his Facebook timeline in an interesting turn of events.

“Last Thursday, we part ways with AFC Leopards SC. Thanks to the fans and I wish you all the best, let’s keep in touch,” the 52-year-old posted on his Facebook page on Sunday.


Of the four shortlisted candidates, Kitambi is not a new face to the club having led the team following the sacking of veteran tactician Robert Matano in March before departing for Bangladesh in May.

Suleiman aka Morocco is the surprise name in the list. Morocco is currently Taifa Stars assistant coach and at the same time Tanzania Premier League side Singida United head coach.

The youthful tactician led Zanzibar Heroes to the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup final, losing 3-2 to Kenya after a nerve-wrecking 2-2 draw in extra time.

He also guided his side to a famous 4-2 win over Leopards on post-match penalties after a goalless draw in normal time during the 2018 SportPesa Super Cup in Nakuru that caught the eyes of Leopards supremo.

For the time being, assistant coach Tom Juma and team manager Gilbert Selebwa, who led the team in a 2-1 defeat to Ulinzi Stars Sunday last week in Nakuru, will temporarily take charge until October 20 in a SportPesa Shield third-place playoff match against the soldiers.