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SPORTS

Five years, six coaches: What is wrong with the Harambee Stars?

FOOTBALL By Washington Onyango | September 17th 2021

Harambee Stars coach Jacob Ghost Mulee and his assistant Twahir Muhiddin sing the national anthem at Nyayo national stadium during their Friendly match against South Sudan on March 13, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

News of Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee leaving Harambee Stars as head coach after what he termed as mutual understanding between him and his employers did not surprise followers and fans of the Kenya football scene.

Since the current FKF regime took over in 2016, Bobby Williamson, Stanley Okumbi, Paul Putt, Sebastien Migne, Francis Kimanzi and Mulee have taken charge of Harambee Stars.

A seventh coach is on the waiting bay after the federation confirmed the exit of Mulee, his assistant Twahir Muhiddin and goalkeeper trainer Haggai Azande on Wednesday evening.

In less than 20 days, Kenya plays Mali in back-to-back 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on October 6 and October 12.  This will happen when the national side has no crew is surely a reason to worry many.

Uganda Cranes Karisa Milton (Left) tackled by Harambee Stars Duke Abuya during their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier Group E match at Nyayo national stadium on September 02, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

In the six matches he guided Harambee Stars, Mulee won only one; against Togo away in Lome, before drawing against Egypt and Comoros at home in the Afcon qualifiers.

He then lost 2-1 to lowly-ranked Comoros away in Moroni, a result that confirmed Stars would not return to the biggest African football tournament.

There were high hopes for the veteran coach to start the Qatar World Cup qualifiers on a winning note, but a barren draw against Uganda Cranes in Nairobi and a 1-1 tie against Rwanda in Kigali was all Mulee could master.

Is the rapid change of guard healthy for the national team’s development? The answer is no, according to former Harambee Stars forward Boniface Ambani.

Speaking to Standard Sports, Ambani said the stability and consistency of the performance of the team will be greatly affected after Mulee left with only 11 months on the job.

“We can’t tell what happened between the federation and Mulee. Personally, I have worked with Mulee closely both at the national team and club level and what I can say is that he is a very principled coach,” said Ambani.

Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

“Stability of the national team will be shaky because when you bring in a new coach, he will come with his own philosophy, which contrasts with the existing one.”

Ambani said every coach will always come with his own players, which definitely makes building a strong team in a short period of time even harder.

“Our neighbours Uganda and Tanzania are consistent,” said Ambani.

 

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