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Kenyan coach seeks new technical bench,
friendly matches ahead of Ghana clash

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 and Ghana.

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 coach.

After playing 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.



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