By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s soccer team, Harambee Stars head coach
Paul Putt is pushing for a new technical bench as he seeks to
lead the country in the campaign to qualify for the 2019 Africa
Nations Cup, which will be hosted in Cameroon.
Kenya last qualified
for the bi-annual premier Africa competition in 2004 in Tunisia
and the Belgian coach Putt was appointed to lead the team to
return to the continental fiesta.
Hosts Cameroon and
12 other group winners will secure direct qualification
alongside three best runners-up. The group stage of qualifying
started in June last year and concludes in November.
“I want to be given
chance to select other people to help me in this work. We need
to organize for more friendly matches too,” said Putt.
His technical bench
led by his assistant Stanley Okumbi will have to pave way if
Putt’s wish is granted.
Kenya’s road to the
2019 finals in Cameroon started on a sour note losing 2-1 away
to Sierra Leone in June but Put is confident Harambee Stars will
rebound from it and commandeer Group F, which also has Ethiopia
But with Football
Kenya Federation facing cash constraints following the
withdrawal of sponsorship by SportPesa, Putt may miss out on
getting the team play international friendlies away from home.
Kenya face Ghana in
Nairobi on March 23.
“We are trying to
get two friendlies in March and two more in May outside the FIFA
calendar. We are hoping the federation and the government will
do everything possible for us to have these two games,” said the
Ghana’s Black Stars, Kenya will have to deal with Ethiopia’s
Walya Antelopes away in Addis Ababa on Sept. 5.
Putt started off
well leading Harambee Stars to win the regional Cecafa Senior
Challenge Cup in Dec.
In the build up to
their Ghana clash, Putt will have the first chance to meet his
international players led by captain Victor Wanyama, who plays
for Totennham Hotspurs in the English Premier league in London.
“We have many
foreign based players, from which we can call to the team.
Wanyama is one of them and he brings leadership, discipline, and
experience. He has shown that with Tottenham and that’s what is
needed when building a winning team,” said Putt.
The coach also said
he is focused on his current job despite him being linked with
vacant position in Guinea following the sudden dismissal of
Kanfory Bangoura after dismal show with Guinea at the Africa
Nations Champions in Morocco.