Blow to Azam after Al Hilal deny Ibenge sacking rumours

© RS Berkane

FOOTBALL Blow to Azam after Al Hilal deny Ibenge sacking rumours

Festus Chuma 16:30 - 03.04.2023

Azam FC made an informal bid for the Congolese in their bid to replace the paperless Kali Ongala.

Sudanese side Al Hilal Omdurman has confirmed they will not sack coach Florent Ibenge despite failing to progress to the knockout stages of the competition.

The two-time African runners-up went out of the competition after they finished third in Group B on Saturday following a 3-0 loss to record champions Al Ahly.

For the past few weeks, Ibenge has been linked with a move to Tanzanian Premier League side Azam FC with reports indicating that he had signed a pre-contract agreement with the side.

The Ice Cream Makers are currently under the tutelage of caretaker coach Kali Ongala who took over following the exit of Frenchman Denis Lavagne.

However, after Al Hilal's defeat to the record African champions, rumors went around social media that the Blue Crescent have parted ways with the coach but the team has now come out to confirm they will keep him despite the early exit from the competition.

"Al Hilal will not sack Florent Ibenge despite the club's failure to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals, we understand him," the club's board said.

Ibenge was appointed Al Hilal coach in November 2022 after he parted ways with Moroccan Ligue 1 giants RS Berkane.

The 61-year-old signed a two-year deal with the 29-time Sudanese champions and possesses extensive experience in African Club championships.

During his time at Congolese giants AS Vita, Ibenge reached two CAF Interclub Cup finals, notably the 2014 Champions League and in 2018 Confederation Cup.

Ibenge was also in charge of the DR Congo national team that won the 2016 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) that was hosted in Rwanda.

He also assisted the Leopards to a third-place finish in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations- their best performance in the competition since 1998.

Azam FC is home to Harambee Stars midfielder Kenneth Muguna who joined the club from Gor Mahia in July 2021 when the club was under Zambian coach George Lwandamina.