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Stars head coach: The poisoned chalice

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 19- The replacement of Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi on Tuesday made it the 12th change at the command of national football team since the side last featured in the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

Kimanzi who was appointed in November last year was only in his eighth month in charge having been brought on board by Sam Nyamweya led Football Kenya Federation (FKF) after election into office following October 28 football polls.

Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, who has since turned to football commentary, was the man in charge when Stars featured in Tunisia where they bid the tournament farewell in the first round after finishing third in Group B behind Mali and Senegal while Burkina Faso tailed after a 3-0 defeat by Stars, a first victory at the continental showpiece.

Mulee was replaced by Twahir Muhddin who was in charge for close to a year before he was fired alongside his entire technical bench.

Mohammed Kheri, who had previously coached Stars in the late 1980’s and again in 1995, took charge for the rest of 2005 shortly before the entry of Frenchman Bernard Lama who was largely expected to turn around the team fortunes.

Lama, a former France goalkeeper, was appointed in July 2006 but lost on his debut to Eritrea in September during an African Nations Cup qualifier quitting just two months later citing lack of professionalism in the then governing body Kenya Football Federation (KFF).

His professional debut with Le Blues was in a 4-0 victory against Israel in 1993 and went on to win 44 caps besides playing in the Euro1996 finals and was a substitute at the finals four years later.

Thomas Olaba replaced him for barely a year after Stars lost 3-1 to Angola in a 2008 Nations Cup qualifier in October 2006 setting the stage for Mulee to return for a second spell in March 2007.

Kimanzi a holder of a UEFA A license was handed his first spell that lasted for about nine months from May 2008 to January 2009 leading Stars to the final round of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers before he was unceremoniously axed.

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In February 2009, retired German footballer Antoine Hey was named the head coach but after disputes with the governing body over team selection, he walked out on the side shortly before their final 2010 World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in November.

Hey begun his management career in Germany with VfR Neumünster before moving to Africa to manage Gambia, Lesotho and Liberia.

Muhiddin who was his assistant made a return to the role before he quit in September 2010 following Kenya’s 1-0 loss to Guinea Bissau in the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers.

Mulee third stint in charge began before he quit the position after three months following a run of three defeats in the 2010 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.

Kenya Premier League (KPL) outfit, Sony Sugar current head coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno who is a former national team player, was appointed interim coach until he was replaced by Kimanzi in November 2011 who had just had a one-year spell coaching Kenyan Premier League side Sofapaka.

Since taking over Kimanzi has led the team through nine games, registering four wins, one draw and four losses.

The former Mathare United coach has consequently been appointed FKF Technical Director replacing Patrick Naggi who has been demoted to Executive Officer.

In contrast, Germany have had only ten coaches in 85 years for their national team that has qualified for the quarters of the ongoing Euro 2012, winning three World Cups in the process.

Current boss, Joachim Loew has been in charge since 2006, making the Kenyan equivalent post to be a true poisoned chalice.

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