Newly appointed Mathare United Head Coach Francis Kimanzi has hit the ground running, at the Nairobi based club.
Kimanzi who rejoined the club after six years replaced Stanley Okumbi who left the Slum boys on mutual consent following the end of the 2015 season.
And on Monday the tactician held his first preseason training with the team at the Mathare Youth Sports Association headquarters, in preparation for the Sport Pesa League (SPL) due to kick off in February.
“We’ve already resumed training in preparation for the league,” said Kimanzi in an interview with KNA in Nairobi today.
“Our focus at the moment is to try and get the players to good fitness levels as well as recruit in a number of areas where we luck depth,” added the tactician.
The Coach was however coy on his objective for the season only saying, “The key thing now is to work on the players fitness levels and build a team, make sure the players understand my philosophy and build on that before the end of our six weeks preseason.”
“So it is only after the preseason that I will be able to concretely say that this is what I believe we can achieve, because then you have all the players that you need and their fitness levels are where you want them to be,” explained the former Tusker Coach.
Expectations are high amongst some of the Mathare United fans with many seeing the tactician as the man capable of restoring the team’s lost glory.
Kimanzi’s was in charge of the club when it lifted the league title back in 2008 in what remains the club’s only league title since gaining promotion to the top flight in 1998.
“I believe he can bring back success to the club,” said Samuel Mwangi a Mathare United fan who spoke to KNA.
“He knows the club’s philosophy, he understands the politics and he is the only coach to have won a major title with us, so we are very optimistic about his appointment,” added the fan.
But it is not only the fans that are happy with Kimanzi’s second stint at the club. In December Mathare United Captain Vincent Okello who played under the tactician in his first stint at the club expressed joy at being reunited with his former boss saying he was the right man for the job.
In an interview with a leading sports website then, Okello termed the move by the club’s management to reappoint Kimanzi and Salim Ali at the helm as a good move.
“It is a good move by the club to appoint them as our tacticians, and I believe in their ability. We all know them, they have massive experience in the top tier and they can help us win the league or finish among the top three by the end of next season,” Okello was quoted as saying.
“As players we will give them our best and support them in all fronts, hoping to learn new things. This is a good opportunity for us to work with tacticians of their caliber and we will not take it for granted,” added the skipper.
Last season, the team finished ninth on the SPL log with 36 points, 42 behind eventual league champions Gor Mahia who clinched the title with 78 points.
By Barry Otieno