AFC Leopards coach Aussems admits struggle ahead of FKF Premier League
AFC Leopards coach Patrick Aussiems is pessimistic about the team’s chances of challenging for the 2020/21 Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League honours following the ban imposed on the club by world governing body Fifa from signing players.
Aussems, who reunited with the club on Monday after an extended holiday in his native Belgium, was brutally honest, saying the club’s fans should not expect a good performance as long as the embargo by the world football governing body Fifa continues.
“I can legitimately say that we shall be reduced to strugglers if we don’t sign experienced players.
Obviously, the league is a marathon and prudence dictates that if you don’t sign quality players you should forget winning the title as well,” Aussiems told People Sport.
An introverted tactician who sometimes shies away from media interviews, Aussiems made a clarion call to Leopards management to petition Fifa to sort out the issue once and for all.
“Aussems is not supernatural to produce results with developmental players which is why the issue needs to be fast tracked by the authorities and especially after we lost the services of key players in the last transfer window,” he said
Aussems who has had coaching stints in Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Tanzania made the plea even as the team’s technical bench is preparing a team which is predominantly made of players from the junior ranks ahead of the resumption of the league on October 15.
“You see, most of these players are not used to the rigors of the league but what can I do as a coach? He posed while reiterating his earlier call for the Leopards management to vouch for the lifting of the ban by Fifa.
Among the key players Leopards lost was goal-scoring machine Elvis Rupia, Robinson Kamura, Hansel Ochieng, John Oyiemba, Benjamin Ochan, Clyde Senaji and Said Tsuma.
In the meantime, Aussiems, who guided Leopards to a fourth place finish last season, said playing before empty stands last season due to the Government’s directive to contain the spread of the Corona virus was some of their biggest challenges they faced .
“Of course, the twelve man that are fans motivate a team to do well. In Tanzania where I coached Simba, the stadia used to fill to the brim and the results were there for all to see. I hope the Kenyan government puts safety measures in place for the players to be driven to success by the fans,” said Aussiems.
However, he averred that he has enjoyed every bit of his coaching job in Kenya ever since landing in the country seven months ago.
“The atmosphere is fantastic and the people here have increasingly been friendly which has made my work easier,” he said.
On the upcoming league match against KCB upon resumption of the league, he said that it is tough by all standards.