0Shares0000AFC Leopards head coach Zapata Rodolfo. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYANAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 28 – AFC Leopards have sent their Argentine head coach Rodolfo Zapata on leave, citing concerns over his security following fan apathy since their SportPesa Shield semi-final loss to Sofapaka last Sunday.Ingwe Organizing Secretary Timothy Lilumbi told Capital Sport the club took the decision after growing concerns over his safety with a number of fans accosting him after the Sofapaka and Tusker matches last Wednesday. “We have not sacked the coach. What has happened is that we have sent him on leave because of the concern over his security. There was trouble in the Sofapaka match and Tusker as well on Wednesday and as a club we are concerned about him. If anything happens to him, we will be in so much trouble,” Lilumbi said.He added; “An employer can always grant an employee leave and that is what has happened. He will return to the club during pre-season for the 2019 campaign.”However, Secretary General Oscar Igaida gave a contrasting statement, saying the coach was headed to the United States on personal business, further putting into doubt whether or not the tactician will still be in charge of the team.AFC Leopards head coach Radolfo Zapata passes instructions to his players at half time during their Hull City Challenge match against Gor Mahia at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on May 1, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“Tom Juma will be in charge for the final two games of the season. The coach has been granted leave to travel to the US for some personal business and he will be back before the new season. We have not sacked him,” Igaida said in a response to Capital Sport.Efforts to reach the Argentine coach who joined Leopards in mid-season from Botswana side Gaborone United were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.Zapata took over from Dennis Kitambi who had been handed the role following the sacking of Robert Matano early in the season.On whether Zapata will still be in charge of the team in the new season, Lilumbi said; “I cannot say conclusively anything as at now. That will still pend on any recommendations the Executive Committee will have.”Zapata on Wednesday told Capital Sport that he was not ready to quit the club but added that he would only do so if the club’s top hierarchy would seem it fit for him to leave.AFC Leopards head coach Rudolf Zapata. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA“I will have a meeting with the Executive Committee to analyze the season and see what we need to do in the team and what’s better for us. If they think the coach is the problem then, it’s okay, I will go, but I think the problem is much deeper,” the tactician said.AFC’s 1-0 loss at the hands of Sofapaka in the Shield semis increased pressure on the tactician and Wednesday’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Tusker FC increased the calls for the tactician to call it quits or the club to fire him.A section of fans who had attended the Wednesday afternoon tie in Machakos publicly told the coach on his face to quit the club with a section of the club’s backroom staff coincidentally joining the call.AFC has been a notorious club known to hire and fore coaches at will and if Zapata’s term comes to an end, it will only be a chapter of the already best-selling book at AFC, anchored in firing of their tacticians.Though regarded as one of the biggest clubs in the country, the club has not won the Kenyan Premier League title in the last 20 years and continuously remain in the shadow of arch rivals Gor Mahia who just this season picked their 17th KPL diadem.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Santiago Solari has been thrust straight into the deep end at Real Madrid.The 42-year-old, who spent five years at the club as a player, has been promoted from the Madrid B team to take the reigns of the senior side following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui on Monday.Solari takes over at a time of immense upheaval at the club, with Real having been thumped 5-1 by Barcelona on Sunday, and also struggling for form without the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! But who is the former Real midfielder, and how long will he remain in charge?Who is Santiago Solari?Solari was born in Argentina in 1976, and began his career with Richard Stockton College in the United States.A return to Argentina saw him take in spells at Newell’s Old Boys and Renato Cesarini, but his professional career did not begin until 1996, at River Plate.Three years later, a move to Atletico Madrid followed, before his dream move to Real.A total of 208 appearances followed, with Solari playing 90 minutes as the club beat Bayer Leverkusen in the 2001-02 Champions League final.Spells at Inter, San Lorenzo, Atlante and Penarol followed, with Solari earning a total of 11 caps for Argentina; he eventually returned to Real in 2013, taking charge of the youth team.Before the 2016-17 season, he was given the reigns to the Real Madrid Castilla – the Blanco’s B team that plays in the third tier of Spanish football – and will now take charge of the senior side as they look to hire a permanent replacement for Lopetegui.How long will Solari be in charge of Real Madrid?Real have a total of two weeks to appoint a new permanent coach, whomever that may be.The Spanish Football Federation’s (RFEF) rules state that Real Madrid have a fortnight to permanently hire a new coach, or face disciplinary proceedings.Article 160 in RFEF’s General Regulations document reads:1. If a coaching vacancy occurs after the competition (La Liga) has started, the club will be obliged to find a new coach who is licensed for the category within a maximum time frame of two weeks.It is worth noting that Solari possesses such a licence.2. Failure to carry out the duties referred to in the previous paragraph will lead to the carrying out of corresponding disciplinary measures by the federation.Thus, provided he is not appointed permanent manager, Solari’s reign is set to last a maximum of four games, starting with Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash against Melilla.They then face surprise package Real Valladolid in La Liga before travelling to Czech Republic to take on Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League.Their final fixture before November’s international break is back in La Liga against Celta Vigo, by which time Solari’s immediate future should be a lot clearer.Who will be Real Madrid’s next permanent manager?Real Madrid are currently in negotiations with former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, but his potential appointment is a complicated one.The Italian is understood to be interested in taking the reigns at Santiago Bernabeu, but protracted negotiations between Madrid and Conte’s former side, Chelsea, have the Blancos scrambling ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey match against Melilla. Though Conte is keen to take charge of Madrid, the Italian’s compensation package with Chelsea still must be thrashed out after the Blues fired the Italian following the 2017-18 season. In order to sign with Madrid, Goal understands Chelsea want Conte to forego a €10 million (£9m/$11m) payment, which is complicating the negotiations between all three parties.Conte has won Serie A three times, as well as the Premier League, but it remains to be seen if the Italian will eventually be appointed in Madrid.If not Conte, then Solari could be placed in permanent charge until the end of the season, though that is far from the ideal scenario.Other external candidates include Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, whom the Madrid hierarchy have long been a fan of, though his signing of a new five-year contract in north London during pre-season complicates matters somewhat.Arsene Wenger remains out of work having left Arsenal at the end of the 2017-18 campaign while Joachim Low – who Madrid reportedly spoke to following Zinedine Zidane’s resignation in May – is struggling with Germany and may be glad of the change of scenery.Roberto Martinez has also been linked following his successful World Cup showing in charge of Belgium while there are even suggestions Jose Mourinho could return to the hotseat as he continues to struggle for consistency at Manchester United.