Alan Clark leaves Leopards in the lurch, heads for Kosovo
The position is as assistant coach for a season with the possibility of becoming head coach in the next campaign
Alan Clark had an opportunity to join a club in Kosovo that could not wait for him to complete the 2019/2020 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season and he could not turn its offer down‚ the Black Leopards coach said on Tuesday in explaining his decision to resign.
Clark could not reveal the name of the club, but said it was an assistant-coaching position for a season‚ with the possibility of becoming head coach the next season.
The Kosovan Superleague ended four days ago‚ with FC Drita champions‚ and the club Clark will join will begin its preseason at the same time that the PSL season resumes on August 8.
“I didn’t want to leave Leopards. My every intention was to finish the season‚” Clark said on Monday.
“There are a few tasty fixtures we have in the last six games that I wanted to be involved in against, especially one of my previous employers [AmaZulu] where I feel like I had something to prove because they didn’t really give me an opportunity [as assistant coach].
“And from all that’s been going on at Leopards, I fancied our chances of surviving. Not only that, but Leopards gave me a fantastic opportunity and I wanted to see it through for them.
“I was waiting for the PSL decision [on Monday] because there were indications it might be cancelled‚ or it might have carried on. If the league was stopped, at least I could have left Leopards knowing everything would be OK.
“But the situation in Europe is that they’ve finished their leagues and they’re preparing for their new seasons already,” Clark said.
“The club that I am joining just missed out on Europa League qualification last season. And that’s what I want to do. As a South African, we don’t get these opportunities very often.”
Clark wondered what would happen in the next six league games if he turned the offer down and whether he would lose his job and then also have lost an opportunity to work in Europe.
“I have coached with a national [under-21] team in Kosovo. So I want an opportunity to work in club football there‚ and perhaps in the Europa League or Champions League.
“I feel like I have the ability to do it and that as South Africans we don’t have to be scared. I want to test myself.
“They’re going to start their preseason in August. So they’re quite eager for me to get there,” said Clark.
“They’ve also had to be patient because there are no commercial flights out of SA‚ so you have apply to be on a repatriation flight firstly.”
Clark’s association with Kosovo comes from working as a “technical adviser” to their national under-17 and under-21 teams soon after the fledgling country declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
“I was involved in the country’s first national team victory. The under-21s lost 5-0 away to Norway‚ and at home were 2-0 down and came back and won 3-2‚” Clark said.
“The current head coach of the club I’m joining and his brothers are the presidents‚ but he wants to move aside. So I would work with him the first season and take over as coach the next season‚” Clark said.
“I couldn’t leave Leopards in the coming period of matches from August‚ and wanted to give them as much notice as I could.”
Morgan Shivambu and Mongezi Bobe were assisting Clark at Leopards and may be appointed caretakers after his sudden departure.
Clark was last-placed Leopards’ fourth coach this season after Lionel Soccoia‚ Luc Eymael and Cavin Johnson.
He had assisted Johnson at Platinum Stars‚ AmaZulu‚ and then Leopards. Clark became Lidoda Duvha’s caretaker-coach when Johnson was suspended in late January.
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