Marines FC have suspended their head coach Abdulkarim ‘Coka’ Nduhirabandi for three matches over allegedly using non-eligible players during a friendly match last week, according to the club secretary general, Captain Geoffrey Hakizimana.
The national football league side accuses the coach of fielding players not registered with Marines in the warm-up game against DR Congo side Virunga as they prepared for the final match of the league against Police FC on June 15 and the Peace Cup quarter-final first leg clash against Espoir FC three days later.
During the warm-up match played on Sunday at Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu, Virunga, which is coached by former Amagaju FC tactician Abdu ‘Beken’ Bizimana, beat Marines 3-1.
Marines are 12th in the 16-team league table standing with 30 points, and with only one game left, they are all but safe from relegation after spending the entire second half of the season in the bottom three, along with Gicumbi FC and already relegated Pepiniere.
“We have not sacked him, it is only a suspension for three games, which means after serving his punishment and giving a valid explanation as to why he did what he did, he will return to work,” Captain Hakizimana told Times Sport on Thursday.
But Nduhirabandi, who has been at the club for 19 years, first as a player and later as coach, said, “It is clear to me they have sacked me, what they’re saying is not true.”
He joined Marines in 1998 as a player before taking up the coaching role the following year and he has since kept the club in the topflight division. His contract is due to expire at the end of the season.