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Kimanzi dropped as coach, hired as director

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NAIROBI, Kenya, June 19- On a dramatic day in Kenyan football, national team head coach, Francis Kimanzi, has been relieved of his duties but swiftly appointed as Technical Director.

Kimanzi’s seven month tenure in his second stint at the helm of Harambee Stars was ended by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) on Tuesday but his new role sees the former Mathare United custodian charged with managing talent development and all national sides among other responsibilities.

The changes were announced a day after federation chief, Sam Nyamweya, declared sweeping changes in the aftermath of a string of poor results that saw Kenya crash out of 2013 Nations Cup running and sink to the bottom of their 2014 World Cup qualifying group.

Patrick Naggi, the former national team coach who was Technical Director has been dropped from football management with Kimanzi now set to be involved in the hiring of his successor.

“Kimanzi has been appointed as the FKF Acting Technical Director with Naggi now taking over as Executive Officer. The federation believes that the road to the 2014 world cup qualifiers is still open and we will consult with stakeholders in ensuring that the new team will bring changes to the National team,” the federation said in a statement signed by Nyamweya.

He added: “We are extending our hunt for a new coach and we assure Kenyans that we shall see a new chapter in the Kenyan game. Coaches will submit their CVs to the FKF through the national chairman.”

Earlier Tuesday, the besieged coach stressed he needed more time with the side he termed as a work in progress but the federation ran out of patience with the man they re-hired to the position last November after declaring they would overhaul the bench on Monday.

“I will not quit as coach since we will not go anywhere if everyone takes the position only to resign,” he told reporters on the return from Lome where Stars crashed out of 2013 Nations Cup after losing 1-0 to the hosts who sailed through to the next phase on the away goals rule with the tie deadlocked on 2-2.

He was responding to the sack notice issued by the federation following the exit as well as shaky start to Brazil 2014 qualifiers where Kenya lie bottom of Group F after a barren home draw to Malawi was ensued by defeat to Namibia.

Kimanzi called for a measured approach in rebuilding the side into a formidable force adding laying blame on the country’s foreign players or domestic top flight club competition, Kenyan Premier League was not a solution to the disappointing sequence of results.

“Players coming from Europe they can sometimes perform in a way we are all not satisfied, the ones locally can also do it, it’s normal in the game, it’s not our league or federation being lousy, we are taking about Kenya giving its own team time to develop and grow,” he emphasised.

While admitting they lost fairly to Namibia, Kimanzi slammed poor officiating in Togo disclosing it was the reason that led him to be sent off deliberately to shield his players towards the end of the match.

Speculation over his future as Stars boss mounted last week following the 1-0 loss to Namibia with reports within the federation giving the under fire coach a last chance with the Togo game to redeem his tenure with his job said to be designated for a foreigner.

“We are looking into issues of overhauling the entire technical bench and injecting more young blood in the playing unit in our efforts of rebuilding Kenyan football,” federation chief, Sam Nyamweya said in a statement that appeared to seal Kimanzi’s fate on Monday.

Kimanzi was re-appointed for his second stint with the side in November last year and has led Stars past Seychelles 7-0 on aggregate in a two-legged pre-World Cup qualifier, a preliminary round exit from Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, victory over Togo in the first home leg, a barren draw against Malawi in addition to successive defeats to Namibia and Togo.

The UEFA A-licence holder from Holland was fired by FKF’s predecessor, Football Kenya in March 2009 after leading Stars to the final group qualifiers for South Africa 2010 World Cup, his highest moment with the side.

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