Even though news has just come in that the national soccer team Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi has been fired, and relocated to the position of technical director, I am writing this article with a very heavy heart. Heavy heart because yet again my national soccer team Harambee Stars, has been beaten and bungled to the back-quarters. Beaten by Togo, a team I do not hold with so much regard. I would have understood if we had lost to Ghana, Senegal, Zambia etc, not Togo. Why do I say so? Because I sat at Nyayo national stadium and watched when we played Togo at home and convinced myself Togo is a side we can beat any time anywhere as long as we get our strategy right. And that if I may say is the problem. Have we got our strategy right?
|Francis Kimanzi||Late Reinhart Fabisch||Sam Nyamweya|
When I hosted the current Football Kenya Federation Chairman Sam Nyamweya together with his competitor then – Hussein Mohammed at KTN for a live TV show a day before the elections, I gave instructions to my show host to ask the two gentlemen about their strategy for the national team should they win the elections. I still remember how emphatic Nyamweya was when he said the first thing he will do if elected will be to hire a foreign coach for Harambee Stars. Nyamweya however immediately changed his mind once he got into office appointing Francis Kimanzi instead.
Today I am wondering why Nyamweya changed his position that fast. What happened between the time he was assuring Kenyans he will hire a foreign coach and when he got into office? By the way, don’t imagine I have no faith in local boys taking charge of our national team, I do. In fact don’t dare imagine I have personal issues with Kimanzi, I don’t. It’s just that looking at the way things are unfolding, it is my considered opinion that appointing a qualified foreign coach might have put us at a better place than where we are at the moment.
Talk is now rife that the team we have been watching is not Kenya’s best footballers but a collection of Kimanzi’s old and new friends. I don’t want to believe this, but again, looking at Kimanzi’s team selection, what would one think?
Is it true for instance that Kimanzi was selecting his friends to give them exposure at the expense of better footballers? Could it be true that Kimanzi was working with some people to promote ‘their’ players so that they can earn huge agent commissions when they land lucrative contracts abroad? Could it be true that Kimanzi was being dictated upon by professional players on who to pick and drop from the national team? Is it a possibility that Kimanzi might have been a captive of vested interests? These are definitely questions that need answers though Kimanzi is no more, to help address Kenya's football problems. Yet one wonders whether re-locating Kimanzi to become technical director makes things any better.
It is for this reason that I am convinced a competent foreign coach is the answer to our current problems; someone who will be able to put the interests of the game at heart. We all saw this when the late Reinhardt Fabisch took charge of the national team in the late 90s. After going round the country Fabisch put up a formidable squad that opened a new page in Kenya’s football history. This is the kind of stuff am talking about. Does anybody remember Ken Simiyu scoring against the mighty Super Eagles of Nigeria at Moi International Sports centre Kasarani in 1997? Remember that team? Where would we be today had we maintained that tempo?
It is my firm belief that this is the direction we need to take. Hire a qualified foreign coach and give him all the support to turn around our loved sport. But who will do this? Are the people charged with managing our national team feeling the same way we are feeling?
|09:00||Mid Morning Lifestyle|
|11:00||Kenya Kona Rpt|
|12:00||Just for laughs rpt|