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Kenya national team Harambee Stars go back to their
drawing board after surprise exit from African tourney

by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The knives are out for Kenya senior team football head coach Sebastien Migne after the country crashed out of the Cameroon 2020 Africa Championships (CHAN) finals to neighbors and bitter rivals Tanzania over the weekend.

The Frenchman who took over the team known as Harambee Stars in May 2018 is now facing a barrage of criticism barely a year into his three-year coaching deal for the country long starved of football success.

Having qualified Kenya to the Egypt 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time in 15 years, Migne found himself under attack for his team’s selection after Stars crashed out in the first round.

For the Frenchman and former Congo Brazzaville coach, everything went according to plan when they held the Taifa Stars to a credible 0-0 draw away in the first leg in Dar-es-Salaam.

However, the hatchet men against Migne and the Football Kenya Federation (KFK) were out in force following last Sunday’s 1-4 exit on penalties in the return fixture in Nairobi.

The Frenchman remained defiant, slamming his team for lacking ‘maturity’ and crumbling under pressure.

"I think we miss some maturity, maturity is essential in football.

"You have to be mature in the zone that means in the two different boxes that is defensively and offensively," Migne told reporters on Sunday.

After Kenyans took to social media to call for his resignation or sacking, Migne fired back by saying a change of guard at the helm will do little to bring the results local fans crave.

"If for every defeat you want to sack the coach, change everything. But you will stay as you are since 20 years it will be the same," the Frenchman said.

Local media reported on the huge cost the local federation would incur should they show the head coach the door.

"If the federation wants to fire me, let them fire me but again if paying my salary is an issue, will they manage to pay out my contract?" the Frenchman was quoted in a local publication on Monday.

FKF president Nick Mwendwa lamented a huge strain in their finances is spent on paying compensation to foreign coaches sacked in the past, among them the late Henri Michel (2012) from France and Adel Amrouche (2014) from Belgium.


Kenya sacks French football coach Sebastien Migne

by Kimathi Kamau NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The tumultuous tenure of Frenchman Sebastien Migne as the head coach of Kenya’s senior national soccer team, Harambee Stars, came to an end on Monday.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) said in a statement that the departure of the former coach of Congo Brazzaville, who took the reins of Harambee Stars in May 2018, came just 14 months into his initial three-year deal.

"Consequently, FKF and Migne have agreed on a settlement for the coach, over a period of time.

The Federation wishes to thank Migne for his exemplary work and high standard of professionalism during his tenure, which culminated in the country qualifying for the 2019 AFCON tournament for the first time in 15 years," FKF said.

It said the reorganization and appointment process for a new technical bench is already underway and the coaching team to steer the Harambee Stars forward will be announced shortly.

"We wish the coach all the best in his future endeavors, this even as we turn our focus on the upcoming 2021 AFCON qualifiers, with a view to try and qualify for the final tournament," it added.

Migne’s assistant Francis and former Stars head coach Kimanzi is widely tipped to succeed the Frenchman who saw Kenya lose to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finalists, Algeria and Senegal in Group C of the continental showpiece in Egypt.

Despite beating neighbors Tanzania in their second encounter, other results knocked Stars out of the competition on an inferior goal difference in the race to qualify for the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams across all the six groups of the competition.

After facing a backlash for his squad selection for the AFCON, Migne dared FKF to sack him last week after the country was knocked out of the 2020 CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers by Tanzania.

This was a result of the barrage of criticism he received after his team fell 1-4 on post-match penalties after the two legs of their CHAN qualifiers ended 0-0 on aggregate.

Ex-Kenya football chief Sam Nyamweya says he is 'saddened
for umpteenth time by national team' and illegal player sales

by Ben Ochieng NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A former head of Kenya’s football organization on Tuesday said Monday’s resignation of national team coach Sebastien Migne was unsurprising.

Sam Nyamweya, who headed the organization now known as Football Kenya Federation (FKF) said that Migne’s departure was hardly unexpected, given the high turnover of Kenya coaches who have failed to deliver the desired results.

"We are all saddened that, for the umpteenth time, the national team has failed to make an impact in the Africa Cup of Nations, not to mention a botched attempt to qualify for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) for the second time in a row," Nyamweya told reporters in Nairobi.

"That tells you there are underlying issues afflicting football in the country which have yet to be addressed by the current regime," he added.

Nyamweya said the fact that Harambee Stars failed to proceed beyond the preliminary stage at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, coupled with a humiliating defeat by minnows Tanzania in the CHAN qualifiers, paints a grim picture of the standard of the game in Kenya, especially with the country’s government having invested heavily.

The former chief also accused officials of colluding with technical personnel to facilitate the illegal sales of players to foreign clubs without the knowledge or consent of the players’ handlers.


Kenyan champions Gor Mahia football club facing uncertain future

by Kimathi Kamau NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- With just days before the start of the 2019/20 CAF Champions League, Kenya flag bearers Gor Mahia are facing an uncertain future playing Burundi champions Aigle Noir CS in the preliminary round.

After making it to the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederations Cup and clinching a record 17th domestic league crown last season, Gor are piled upon with expectations from the continental scene.

However, the local glamour club is set to announce a new head coach this week and a slew of exits have left the team facing the race against time to get ready for the upcoming season.

Cypriot-born Turkish Hassan Oktay who led Gor to a third successive Kenyan Premier League (KPL) crown as well as their quarterfinal run in the Confed Cup was given permission to fly home to take care of his ailing parents last week and reports indicated he will not be returning to lead the team.

Having spent a season at the club, Oktay is the third foreign coach in as many years to leave Gor in the footsteps of former Brazil international, Jose Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira and Briton Dylan Kerr who are now coaching in Albania and South Africa.

"I have coached in Turkey and won the league title there, also coached in Saudi Arabia and now Kenya with Gor Mahia, I will always respect Gor Mahia of all the teams I have handled in my career," Oktay said in an interview before his departure for Turkey.

Earlier, his former assistant and ex-club captain Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno left the club to take charge of local rivals KCB FC in a head coach role.

In the close season, the KPL champions have seen Kenya internationals - defender and Captain Harun Shakava and midfielder Francis Kahata leave for Zambia’s Nkana FC and Tanzanian giants Simba SC respectively.

Top scorer and Rwanda international, Jacques Tuyisenge, who has led the scoring charts for Gor in the past three title winning seasons as well as netting five in the 2019/ 20 Confed Cup had long confirmed his departure to Angolan titans, Petro Atletico.

Uganda forward, Erisa Ssekisambu who flickered on and off in his only season at the club returned home to join KCCA while former Kenya winger George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo who returned to the team and won four league titles left to join domestic rivals and 11-time champions Tusker FC.

Burundi forward, Francis Mustapha was released last week before the close of the local transfer window as the club sacrificed the striker to abide by the KPL rules on foreigners.

On the other hand, Gor have signed Ghanaian striker Francis Afriye, Ivorian midfielder Yikpe Gnamian, keeper David Mapigano and winger, Dickson Ambundo from Tanzania in the close season to add to their foreign quota that is completed by Ugandan wingback Shafiq Batambuze who was at the club last season.

Gor will take on Aigle Noir CS this weekend in the first leg of their Champions League preliminary round.

The winner will face either USM Alger of Algeria or SONIDEP of Niger in the first round.

Gor were knocked out in the Champions League first round in the past two seasons before winning a play-off to join the Confed Cup group stage.



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