Hall sets tar­get

New coach says he will work to­wards restor­ing AFC Leop­ards’ lost im­age

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports Local - FRAN­CIS WADEGU @fwadegu198

‘I BE­LIEVE NOTH­ING IS IM­POS­SI­BLE. I CAN MAKE THE FANS SMILE AGAIN’ —JOHN HALL

AFC Leop­ards’ new coach John Ste­wart Hall yes­ter­day said he is un­der no il­lu­sions on what is ex­pected of him af­ter he was of­fi­cially un­veiled on Mon­day for one of the tough­est jobs in Kenyan club foot­ball.

Hall said he has been prop­erly briefed about his new du­ties at the club, and that he in­tends to work to­wards restor­ing the club’s im­age be­gin­ning next sea­son.

“Be­fore I came here, I was do­ing a bit of re­search on the team and I have gath­ered quite a lot. The man­age­ment and the fans want the club to get back to be­ing gi­ants in the Kenyan Premier League and be­cause I have a good un­der­stand­ing of the club’s his­tory, I will try my best to en­sure I suc­ceed in do­ing that. “I am hon­oured and priv­i­leged to have been se­lected for this job when so many other coaches had ap­plied but my track record speaks for it­self. In my years at Azam, I man­aged to make the club big enough to desta­bilise the dom­i­nance of Simba and Yanga in Tan­za­nia.

“I there­fore be­lieve noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble. I can make the fans smile again. But we also have to be re­al­is­tic. Win­ning the league ti­tle may not be pos­si­ble in the next year but I can as­sure Leop­ards that we shall make sig­nif­i­cant progress in the next year,” he said.

Hall was speak­ing at the club’s head­quar­ters in Nairobi where he was of­fi­cially un­veiled.

The English­man signed a two-year con­tract at the club two weeks ago af­ter re­sign­ing from Azam in Au­gust. He takes over from Bel­gian Ivan Min­naert who was sacked ear­lier this year over poor per­for­mance.

Leop­ards chair­man Dan Mule said Hall will have a free hand to se­lect his as­sis­tants. “Hall be­gins work im­me­di­ately and will work alone un­til that time that he for­mu­lates his own tech­ni­cal bench. Ezekiel Ak­wana is no longer part of the team.”

Ak­wana had been ap­pointed standin coach fol­low­ing the sack­ing of Min­naert. Mule said: “Apart from coach­ing the se­nior team, he (Hall) will also be su­per­vis­ing the ju­nior team as part of our am­bi­tion to set up a vi­brant youth team that will act as an academy for the club.”

Hall re­signed as coach of Azam last year un­der un­clear cir­cum­stances. The English­man has pre­vi­ously man­aged Zanz­ibar and Saint Vin­cent and Gre­nadines.

He has also coached sev­eral clubs in­clud­ing Birm­ing­ham City’s Academy side (Eng­land), Pune FC (In­dia) and So­fa­paka (Kenya), where he had a rather short and in­aus­pi­cious stint.

/FILE

Kepha Aswani of AFC Leop­ards cel­e­brates a Kenya Premier League match win.

/COUR­TESY

AFC Leop­ards’ new coach John Ste­wart Hall

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