Samba dance: Brazilian coach emerges as top candidate for Gor Mahia coaching job

Samba dance: Brazilian coach emerges as top candidate for Gor Mahia coaching job

Festus Chuma 10:30 - 22.05.2024

Brazilian coach with a rich international track record is a top candidate to succeed Jonathan McKinstry at Gor Mahia.

Brazilian native Leonard Martins Neiva, popularly known as Leo Neiva, is one of the top candidates set to take over the head coaching position at Gor Mahia. 

Neiva's name is being discussed by Gor Mahia's top brass, who are currently reviewing a list of six other shortlisted candidates before making an official announcement.

Neiva comes with an enviable, well-detailed track record of managing and excelling at top clubs, a reputation that is highly desired at K'Ogalo. 

The 46-year-old has experience as both a club and national team manager across various continents, including North America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

Neiva kick-started his coaching career as an assistant coach at America CF in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2007. 

His first move to Africa was as the academy coach for South Africa's Platinum Stars between 2008 and 2009. 

After a brief return to Brazil with Bonsucesso-RJ, he took charge of the youth side of Yadanarborn FC, where he inspired many youngsters to make the Brazilian U-20 grade.

Neiva then became the head coach of Rakhine United in the Myanmar National League from 2011 to 2012, becoming the youngest coach in the league at 34.

 In 2013, he returned to Brazil to coach Associacao Atletica Francana before moving to Tanzania's Young Africans SC in 2014. 

There, he won both the Tanzanian Super Cup and the 2014/15 Premier League. He was soon lured away by Jamaican side Montego Bay United, where he helped win the national championship in 2016.

In a short stint between 2016 and 2017, Neiva worked again at Yadanarborn and the now-defunct Thai Honda FC. 

In 2019, he returned to Brazil with Clube Atletico Itapemirim for a season before handling the Saint Kitts and Nevis senior men's national soccer team.

 His most recent job in Africa was with Uganda Premier League side Vipers SC, where he was shown the door in December after just six months in charge.

A source close to Gor Mahia's management said, "Leo Neiva's extensive experience and success across multiple continents make him a prime candidate for our club. We believe his leadership could be instrumental in continuing our winning tradition."

Former AFC Leopards coach Patrick Aussems and former Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay, who achieved remarkable success with the club, are also linked to the coaching job at K'Ogalo. 

If confirmed, Neiva will succeed Jonathan McKinstry, a former Uganda Cranes head coach who joined Gor Mahia in July 2022 on a two-year contract.

McKinstry helped Gor Mahia reclaim the league title last season, narrowly beating Tusker on the final day of the campaign. 

This season, McKinstry's team has already secured the title with three matches remaining. He is set to take over the Gambia national team coaching job.

Neiva's potential appointment is seen as a strategic move to maintain Gor Mahia's dominance in Kenyan football. 

His diverse coaching background and ability to adapt to different football cultures are qualities that could greatly benefit K'Ogalo as they aim to strengthen their position both domestically and continentally.

Follow us on X (Twitter) for more updates.