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How endless lawsuits have impoverished cash strapped Leopards

A club’s strength is determined by financial power but for the last three seasons, 13-time Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions AFC Leopards have been entangled in legal battles with former players and sacked coaches that have virtually depleted the club’s accounts.

This has hugely affected the club financially losing millions in compensating the claimants.

Robert Matano’s latest move demanding Sh4.9 million for wrongful dismissal as the head coach adds to three other similar charges the club has had to deal with within this period of time.

In January 2015, Dutchman Hendrik Pieter De Jongh filed a complaint with KPL’s Independent Disciplinary and Complains Committee (IDCC) demanding his dues for unlawful termination of his contract, six months into the job.

The committee ruled in favour of the coach who walked home with Sh1.6 million as compensation, the money though was deducted from the club’s monthly grants provided by then broadcast sponsors, SuperSport.


It’s the same year IDCC again ruled in favour of eight players dropped by the club ordering Ingwe to pay the complainants a total of Sh4.5 million for breach of contracts and salary arrears.

Khalid Jumaan, Clement Kabemba, Solomon Nasio, Eugene Musilwa, Simon Shikuku, Daniel Kiptoo, Emmanuel Onyancha and Kevin Aketch are the players who pocketed the amount.

Then in May last year, Belgian coach Ivan Minnaert dragged the club to Fifa’s Dispute Resolution Chamber over salary arrears amounting to $22,000 (approximately Sh2.2 million) for unlawful termination of his contract in September 2016.

But even with over Sh12 million lost in the corridors of justice, Leopards chairman Dan Mule says a lot has changed to avoid such future cases.

“Since we came into office, so many things has changed, we no longer see released players heading to courts for justice. Currently we settle matters before partying ways,” Mule told Nairobi News.


“It’s only Minnaert (Ivan) and now Matano’s cases that we’ve had to handle. For Matano, we are also armed with incriminating evidence that might harm the coach’s career and we are prepared to face off in court,” he warned.

The veteran coach, who led Ingwe’s successful campaign in last year’s GOtv Shield, sued the club through Kiplagat and Company Advocates demanding compensation of up to Sh4.9 million following his sacking on March 13 after a poor run of performances.

Matano wants compensation within seven days of notice.

“His termination was substantially and procedurally unfair contrary to Employment Act (2007),” said the notice seen by Nairobi News.

The two-time KPL winning coach joined the team in July 2017 on an initial six months contract and helped save the side from relegation before signing a new two-year deal in January.