Former Leopards coach Koops chooses Kenya over Holland, for life


Former AFC Leopards boss Jan Koops. (PHOTO/Courtesy)
Former AFC Leopards boss Jan Koops. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

In Summary

  • Former AFC Leopards head coach Jan Koops, a Dutch, has no plans of returning home after living in the country for over a decade.
  • He is well remembered for guiding Leopards to a third place finish in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) in 2012, three years after setting his foot in Kenya.

Former AFC Leopards head coach Jan Koops, a Dutch, has no plans of returning home after living in Kenya for over a decade.

Koops, 76, a Dutch retiree now resides in Mumias, and is in the process of acquiring Kenyan citizenship to actualise his dream.

However, there is nothing decent to explain his choice to live in the country, without doing the primary job he is known for- coaching!

“I receive little pension from Netherlands and Germany where I worked before, that’s how I’m able to survive here,” said the father of two, now divorced.

Without a permanent residence, Koops pays Sh500 every day for a place to lay his head- a lodging but is somehow comfortable with the situation, loneliness and uninspiring life from his European experiences notwithstanding.

“I love Kenya, the climate and the people are amazing. It is more beautiful on this side of the country (Mumias) and that’s why I don’t mind living here forever,” Koops told Citizen Digital in an interview in Mumias.

Koops is best remembered for guiding Leopards to a third place finish in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) in 2012, three years after setting foot in Kenya.

Fondly known as ‘Wepukhulu’ among the Ingwe fans, Koops has on a number of occasions depended on them for survival when the going got tough.

In May 2018, Koops was detained in a Nairobi hospital for failing to raise Sh280,000 after going under the knife, with a section of fans lending a helping hand.

Apart from Koops, a number of Caucasian  coaches have settled in Kenya for over a decade, including former Gor Mahia and Harambee Stars tactician Bobby Williamson (Scott).

Recently, Frenchman Sebastian Migne who guided Kenya to the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), confessed his love for the country.

To date, his wife resides in Kenya, almost a year after losing the Stars job.

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Story By Violet Auma
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