Harambee Stars coach should just pack his bags, we don’t pay

By John Wafula: Friday, September 21st 2018 at 10:14 GMT +3 | Football
Harambee Stars coach Sebastien Migne in a past training session [Courtesy]

Kenya is at it again. Another ugly piece of history with the national football team Harambee Stars is just about to be written unless the gods prevail.

The Nairobian has established that national team coach Sebastien Migne is set to add to the growing list of coaches who did service for Kenya but never got paid a dime for it.

It’s barely four months since the Frenchman landed in Kenya, but his stay here could just be coming to an end. And it’s all about money. It’s always about money here in Kenya. That’s the drill.

Meanwhile, Harambee Stars stand a high chance of booking their first appearance in the next Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon since 2004. But the team’s preparation ahead of their away and home games against Ethiopia could be derailed, with reports that Migne may be on his way out.

Salary arrears

Migne replaced Paul Put after signing a three-year deal with Football Kenya Federation in May. Since then, the Frenchman has only received his payment twice. Yes, twice. The coach is now owed close to Sh8 million in arrears after the government failed to pay his July and August salaries on time. The 45-year-old is said to be fed up with the level of ‘unprofessionalism’ in Kenyan football that he has thrice threatened to walk out of the contract.  Migne recently accused the Nick Mwendwa-led football federation of lack of professionalism in the buildup to the Afcon game against Ghana before threatening that, “I might consider my future,” moments after he led Stars to a 1-0 victory over Malawi in a friendly match.

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But Migne is not going to be the first or the last coach to walk out of his contract. A total of 33 coaches have handled Harambee Stars in the last six decades since Ray Bachelor, the man under whose reign Kenya was beaten 13-2 by Ghana in the presence of former President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in 1961. Bachelor had just been given the job barely four hours before the kick-off after Peter Oronge developed cold feet when he learnt that Kenyatta was to attend the game at Kasarani.

Sebastien Migne is set to add to the growing list of coaches who did service for Kenya but never got paid a dime for it [Courtesy]

In the past eight years, Harambee Stars has been handled by eight coaches, five of them foreigners. The list includes Henri Michel, who succeeded Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno. The Frenchman was on a Sh8 million monthly salary deal, in addition to accommodation at a high-end hotel in the CBD.

Then came Belgian Adel Amrouche who was on a five-year contract, but was later fired together with his entire technical bench after an altercation with a match official in a preliminary round of the 2015 Afcon match between Kenya and Comoros. Amrouche then went to Algeria, where he handled USM Alger, the club that knocked Gor Mahia out of the Caf Confederation Cup. The Belgian is currently the head coach of Libya.

Fifth coach

Scotsman Bobby Williamson then joined the bandwagon after he took up the reins from Gor Mahia. The former Uganda Cranes coach was lured from K’Ogalo with a Sh2.5 million monthly salary but was later shown the door by the then all-powerful Sam Nyamweya’s regime. Williamson and Amrouche have since taken FKF to court over wrongful termination of their contracts, with the former claiming a whopping Sh40 million while the latter could walk away with Sh60 million should the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) dismiss FKF’s appeal after the Belgian was awarded the damages by a judge.

Then came Paul Put’s short stint before he resigned to take up a job with Guinea. Put was replaced by Migne last May. If he leaves, Migne will be the fifth coach to have handled Harambee Stars since Nick Mwendwa came into office two years ago.

Former Harambee Stars and Gor Mahia full back Tobias Ocholla ‘Jua Kali’ says that the high turnover is so grave at both national team and club levels, further warning that Kenyan football will continue to deteriorate with if this trend persists.

“We need to go for a coach who will be able to stay with us for a longer period to pass down a philosophy in the team. Let us not go for someone and then promise them Sh2 million, which in the real sense we’ll not be able to pay him. Cheap is expensive yes, but FKF should sit down with the government and draw up a plan on how to sustain national team coaches. But we must first and foremost hire coaches we can afford.

Prepares to leave

Ocholla added that, “FKF needs to contract people who are loyal, both during the good and tough times. Look at Kariobangi Sharks and Gor Mahia for example. They have a certain philosophy, unlike AFC Leopards who have changed close to 10 coaches in the past three years. We can’t have consistency because each coach comes with his own system and they don’t last. Something must be done!”

But even as Migne prepares to leave; it seems, FKF has begun the search for his replacement, with Gor Mahia’s Dylan Kerr being among those targeted.

On September 4, FKF, through CEO Robert Muthomi, wrote to Gor Mahia instructing the club to forward Kerr’s papers. 

“This is to follow up and request for head coach credentials subsequent to our letter to your office dated February 19, 2018, stipulating that all FKF, NSL and Division One club head coaches be accredited by the federation.

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