Ten coaches who have moved the most
Old habits die hard is an idiom which befits the high number of experienced Kenyan Premier League (KPL) coaches who are increasingly being fired by club owners over poor results. Swedish businessman Ricardo Badoer, who is Wazito FC owner, last week, cracked the whip on head coach Fred Ambani and his assistant Salim Babu after the team lost 2-1 and 5-1 against Zoo Kericho in pre-season friendlies. This week, Webster Nyandika takes a deep look at some of the experienced coaches who have served a number of teams.
1. Robert Matano (Nine teams)
The man who was orphaned very early in his life takes it all among the biggest journeymen in coaching.
His formal coaching was by chance in 1987 when he saw a group of youngsters playing and the team immediately found a name-Pumwani Sportiff- that went on to feature in Division Two of Nairobi Zone before they were promoted to Division One.
Matano was then lured by Kenya Pipeline FC which represented the country in the 2003 Africa Cup Winners Cup and reached the second round.
The current Tusker FC coach has since then coached at least nine key teams including Timsales FC, Kimbo FC, Kenya Pipeline, Green Berets FC, Gor Mahia, Ulinizi, Sofapaka, AFC Leopards and Tusker FC.
2. Leonard Saleh (Six teams)
He is described as one of the unheralded coaches in the country whose hands-on tactics has seen him hired by several teams.
One of the most experienced tacticians of his generation, Saleh’s immediate former club is Kibera Black Stars which play in the NSL.
Saleh was appointed to take charge of the Nairobi side that was initially led by Francis Ochieng, Nicholas Ochieng and Ken Adulo.
The trio served the team without distinct duties as they all played the role of coach.
Saleh has had the chance to coach KPL side Kakamega Homeboyz, AFC Leopards, KCB, Bidco, Agro Chemical and Talanta earlier in his career and is now a free agent.
3. James Nandwa (Five teams)
Nandwa who has vast experience was first a manager at the defunct Utalii FC which he previously served as a player.
He has also been a previous long serving coach at former KPL side Thika United which has since been relegated to NSL.
Nandwa’s other top jobs were coaching the now defunct Sher Karuturi, AFC Leopards and then Sony Sugar which has also been relegated from the top-tier league.
His first stint at Harambee Stars was in 2012 when he replaced Frenchman Henri Michel who declined to take the team to the Senior Challenge Cup Championship in Uganda.
4. Salim Babu (Four teams)
Incidentally, Babu is the latest victim to be rejected by Wazito who hold the bragging rights of the KPL team that has made marquee signings ahead of the 2020/2021 season.
Before he was snapped up by the Money Bags that are Wazito, Babu had served Western Stima, replacing Paul Ogai from National Super League (NSL) side Migori Youth.
The youthful tactician has also previously handled Chemelil Sugar and Sony Sugar which were disbanded last week due to lack of resources.
Babu began his coaching career at Sony Sugar where he was first deployed as assistant coach a few months after he retired from football.
5. Zedekiah Otieno (Four teams)
The current KCB coach has seen it all as far as training teams are concerned.
Zico, who trained junior teams in Kariobangi where he grew up, has handled Gor Mahia at different periods and is one of the tacticians who have had success with the multiple KPL champions not to mention national team Harambee Stars.
He was first appointed Harambee Stars interim coach in 2011 during which time he was also at the helm at Gor. He has also been in charge of Posta Rangers and Sony Sugar.
6. Nicholas Muyoti (Four teams)
The former Harambee Stars midfield enforcer has been in charge at Kakamega Homeboyz since last season when the team wound up the league in an impressive position behind Gor Mahia.
Although the league ended prematurely due to the vagaries of Covid-19, Muyoti performance at Homeboyz was there for all to see and especially his tactical approach of fixtures.
The youthful tactician, who is still the head coach at the team, has also been a diligent servant in the past at AFC Leopards dug-out and is among those credited with stabilising the team turning round the fluctuating fortunes of Ingwe at the Den. He also had a stint with Nzoia Sugar and Thika United.
7. Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo (Four teams)
The much travelled former Kenyan international is one of the most experienced coaches in the country having managed top tier teams even as far as India where he used to play for East Bengal FC.
He is a former recipient of the Fidelity Insurance Coach of The Month Award.
Omollo has worked at KCB FC and is now the Head Coach of KPL side Posta Rangers.
Among his accolades is winning the Kenya Premier League title with Tusker in 2011. He has also coached Gor Mahia and KCB.
8. Francis Baraza (Four teams)
The former AFC Leopards striker who won the league in 1998 with the local giants has had stints at Tusker, Chemelil, Western Stima and Muhoroni Youth.
He has also been an assistant coach with the national team Harambee Stars.
9. Edward Manoah (Three teams)
The affable tactician is the man in charge at National Super League side Vihiga Bullets.
Manoah, who prefers short, crisp passes, helped Vihiga United gain promotion to the 2018/2019 KPL and oversaw the signings of quality players.
He also had a blossoming career at Chemelil Sugar and once helped the team evade relegation from KPL.
The tactician, who was recently quoted saying that Bullets have overachieved, has previously had a bigger challenge of coaching one of Kenya’s biggest clubs in AFC Leopards.
10. Nick Yakhama (Three teams)
The former Kenya Taitex Mills (KTM) talismanic striker has previously been at the helm in AFC Leopards after being shown the door at Chemelil Sugar.
His joining Ingwe in 2012 when the club was spearheaded by Alex Ole Magelo was controversial given that there was no consultation by all Leopards top officials in hiring him, besides the fact that he had left Chemelil in an acrimonious way.
Yakhama, who was lured from Chemelil Sugar, was making a comeback to Ingwe after veteran coach Robert Matano was sacked by the Big Cats following a 2-1 loss to Congo Boys FC.
In 2015, Yakhama was engaged by nondescript side Mount Kenya University (Kakamega Campus) FC.