NAIROBI, Kenya, December 11 – Francis Kimanzi has been retained as Harambee Stars coach for the next one year after intense negotiations with Football Kenya Limited (FKL) board members.
The move ends weeks of speculation over who would coach the national team as Kimanzi’s earlier contract had expired after the second round qualifying campaign last October.
Kimanzi who masterminded Stars qualification to the third round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and Africa Cup of Nations said he is looking forward to the qualifying matches.
“I feel very honoured and challenged by the job that lies ahead and I’ll try my best to see if we can complete what we began earlier this year,” said Kimanzi who was flanked by his brains trust James Nandwa and Yusuf Chippo who were also retained as his assistant coaches.
“It’s a tough challenge for us but together with my very able technical team I believe we can continue building a stronger team,” he added.
Kimanzi who will continue his role as coach of Mathare United will run the national side under a new management structure which will have a National Team Technical Director.
“The Harambee Stars technical bench will report to the director who will oversee all technical aspects of the national team,” said FKL board member Titus Kasuve.
A technical department which will be headed by Kimanzi has also been created and will have the authority to appoint his assistants and other specialist personnel within the team.
Changes were also made on the administrative arm of the team which will be spearheaded by a national secretariat to be headed by FKL chief executive officer Mohamed Hatimy and will include financial, logistics, communications and security departments.
Kimanzi also named the team for the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) Senior Challenge Cup that starts in Uganda at the end of this month.
Ulinzi Stars striker Francis Ochieng is the new call up to the side while the Tanzanian based duo of Mike Baraza and Boniface Ambani have earned recalls in the absence of Auxerre striker Dennis Oliech and Allan Wanga.
Ali Breik of Bandari, Edward Kauka and Joseph Kamau also return to the team who are in Group B alongside defending champions Sudan, Eritrea, Burundi and Djibouti.
Kimanzi said that he had been assured by FKL that he and his team will be accorded ample conditions to prepare for the tournament which runs from December 30 to January 13.
“I told them I need a quiet environment which to me means that when I get down to business with the players, I need guys who are committed and focused on playing the full 90 minutes on the pitch,” said Kimanzi.
Kimanzi was also confident that the time between Sunday, when the team assembles at Moi International Sports Centre for training, and the start of the tournament is sufficient to put together a solid outfit.
“Guaranteed that I will have a non interrupted camp, that is enough from a technical point of view,” stated Kimanzi.
Noah Ayuko, Duncan Ochieng (Goalkeepers), Joseph Embenzi, Lloyd Wahome, Edgar Odhiambo, Anthony Wanjohi, John Mwangi, Jockins Atundo, George Owino, James Ndeto, Christopher Liswa (Defenders), Kevin Ochieng, Mondays Osborne, Augustin Makacha, Ali Breki, Joseph Kamau, Victor Mugabe, Edward Kauka, Andrew Oyombe, Abdi Simba (Midfielders), Francis Ouma, Francis Ochieng, Patrick Oboya, Boniface Ambani, Mike Baraza (Strikers)