AFC Leopards’ Serbian coach Nikola Kavazovic will not handle the team’s opening rounds of the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) fixtures, Nation Sport can reveal.
The 43-year-old was set to leave the country for Serbia on Saturday night to attend to his ailing father.
His absence in the team’s 2-1 win over Ulinzi Stars in a pre-season friendly at Hope Centre, Kawangware on Saturday left a section of fans, who bothered to turn up for the tie, guessing with reports of a falling out with the Leopards’ Executive Committee dominating social media pages.
Former Kenyan international Tom Juma, who was recently handed Operations Manager role, took charge of the team alongside goalkeeper coach Lawrence Webo.
“My father had a stroke last night so I am going to be with him,” Kavazovic told Nation Sport on phone on Saturday.
“My return will depend on how fast he (dad) will get well. I am extremely sad because we had really done a good job of creating a new team and new style of play that was going to break Gor Mahia’s dominance,” he added.
The former Botswana champions Township Rollers coach revealed the team will be handled by his assistant, Serbian Marko Vasilejevic, who is expected in the country anytime.
“Marko has just completed his Uefa license “C” exams, he will temporarily be the head coach and Tom Juma his deputy until I come back. He knows my style of play for the past four years we’ve been working together, furthermore, we’ve been communicating frequently and doing the analysis together through the video footage of all training sessions and friendly matches.
“In fact, he is the one who recommended some changes in the team, he knows every player’s strength,” Kavazovic, who replaced Argentine Rodolfo Zapata last month offered.
On reported rumours of asking to leave the club he said, “Rumours are the biggest evil in African football, right now Gor Mahia is dominating in the local scene so such rumours are meant to destabilize Leopards’ camp,” he concluded.
Ingwe open the season against Kariobangi Sharks next Saturday, before facing Kakamega Homeboyz, Sofapaka and Vihiga United in the course of this month.