Of the three foreign coaches in the Kenyan Premier League, AFC Leopards’ Jan Koops made the least grand entrance into the country.
There was no pre-arrival media hype, there were no welcoming troops, no pretty girls to hang flowers around his neck-as a matter of fact, I highly doubt he had any plans of getting the kind of attention he was to later ganner.
From the first articles I read of him, he was described as a
retiree, out to put his pension to wise use.
As fate would have it, at the time of his arrival AFC was in dire need of tactical assistance and since Koops knew a thing or two about football, he offered to guide them when he was not bird-watching [or doing whatever it is foreign retirees do when they come to Kenya].
No expectations were placed on him; actually, even the internet knew very little about him, judging from the tones of spelling variations of his name-Jan Kops, Jaan Koops, Jæn Køps, Jean Koops….and so on.
But, in typical underdog fashion, he went on to impress; helping the team register win after win, a feat that helped endear him to the local football audience.
In his initial days at AFC, he was said to be working on a voluntary basis-how true this is, I don’t know-however, I am quite sure those were his finest days in Kenyan football-days when he was the only foreign coach around-and his team was on a roll.
But that is in the past.
Whatever happened after he got on the club’s payroll, only he knows-because his side appears to be losing the firm grip it had on the 2012 title.
Maybe the club needs to get him back to working as a volunteer-and hope that fans will lower their expectation on him because that appears to have been his key to success-no pay + little expectation.