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Kimanzi re-appointed Stars coach

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NAIROBI, Kenya, November 1- Francis Kimanzi has been re-appointed as national team Harambee Stars head coach by the new Sam Nyamweya regime.

Kimanzi, the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Sofapaka FC coach confirmed he had taken the post that was until Tuesday was held by his Gor Mahia FC equivalent, Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno who was relieved of his duties by the Football Kenya Association (FKA).

“Yes, I have accepted the position and the first test will be Seychelles game where I will evaluate the side before charting a way forward. For now, I will not abandon my club but my position with them will become clearer in time,” Kimanzi said.

He added: “I will also take time to appoint my technical bench because I want to operate with people I can work together with for the good of the team.”

His re-appointment to the post he was acrimoniously fired from in February 2009 was the culmination of a whirlwind day in Kenyan football as Nyamweya, who was elected to the country’s top post on Saturday, moved expeditiously to assert his authority.

The process to reinstate the Sofapaka FC coach was set in motion soon after Nyamweya chaired his first National Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday morning.

According to FKA media liaison officer, Robin Toskin, Kimanzi was approached to take over the position in tri-partite meeting involving Nyamweya and KPL at the latter’s secretariat in the afternoon.

Following the discussions, the deal that will see Kimanzi handle the national team as well as his club side simultaneously was thrashed and his appointment made public.

Kimanzi steered Stars to the final group phase qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before being shown the door with German national, Antoine Hey replacing him.

He fell foul with Football Kenya Limited (FKL), the governing body that will be dissolved following Saturday’s unified elections who dismissed him under charges of insubordination after the regional CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda.

This season, the tactician who holds a UEFA A licence, the highest qualification among his local peers, led his side to the fourth round of the second tier continental club competition, the CAF Confederations Cup.

Sofapaka beat Angola’s Aviacao on penalties, thrashed Egyptian giants Ismaily 4-2 on aggregate, topped D R Congo’s St Eloi Lupopo 1-0 before bowing out to Tunisia’s Club Africain 4-3 after two legs.

It was their second foray in continental competition following their promotion to the KPL in 2009 which they crowned by winning the league on their debut before crashing out at the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League.

Kimanzi led former KPL employers, Mathare United to the 2008 KPL title while still in charge of the national team, further underlining his credentials.

Otieno, who is the head coach of Sofapaka’s KPL, rivals Gor Mahia, has been in interim charge of the national team since February, leading them to third place in the qualifiers for the 2012 Africa Nations Cup.

He is currently preparing the side to face Seychelles in a two-legged 2014 World Cup pre-qualifier where victory for the side will see the team will join the group containing Nigeria, Malawi and either Djibouti and Namibia who will face off in a similar knockout fixture.

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