NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9- Though on short-term, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has appointed Mathare United head coach Francis Kimanzi to head the national under-23 team’s technical bench for a friendly match against Uzbekistan on March 22.
Kimanzi returns to the national team set up for the first time since 2012 when he was axed as the Harambee Stars senior team coach on his second stint after a 1-0 loss to Togo in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.
“He (Kimanzi) will be in charge of the Under-23 team for this game only against Uzbekistan and we will review the position on whether to retain him on permanent after that game. He will be charged with constituting his own technical bench,” FKF CEO Robert Muthomi told Capital Sport.
Kimanzi, speaking to Capital Sport says he is delighted with the opportunity to work with the youngsters.
“I am delighted of course with the recognition especially after the work we put up at Mathare United last year. It shows that alot can be achieved if we have faith in the youth and this is also a good project because it will increase the depth of the national team,” Kimanzi said.
He has also added that he will be ready to step in when called upon even after the Uzbekistan match.
“I am available of course if my services are needed at any other time after this because unlike club football the national team has games only once in a while,” the tactician offered.
He also added that the team which will be selected as the friendly approaches will hugely hinge on the impending 2019 African Under-23 Championship Qualifiers which are scheduled to kick-off either by end of this year or early next year.
The top three teams from the Under-23 Championship will qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
-Okumbi remains in charge-
Meanwhile, Stanley Okumbi will remain in charge of the senior national team until the federation settles on a new coach, something that might happen before May.
Okumbi will take charge of the team for the upcoming two friendly matches in Morocco.
Kenya is scheduled to play against Comoros on March 24 in Marakech while a second friendly will be confirmed for the 27th after Gambia pulled out.
“We are just looking to finish signing the contracts then we will make it public who we are playing. Stanley will be in charge of these two games because we felt it would have been too early to have a new coach by now after Put’s (Paul) exit,” Muthomi said.
According to the federation, more than 100 coaches have expressed interest and sent their portfolios to be considered for the job.
Meanwhile, Kimanzi who will be assisted by KCB head coach John Kamau has already drafted a squad for the friendly match.
Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars), Job Ochieng (Mathare United)
Mike Kibwage (AFC Leopards), Joseph Okumu (Unattached), Benard Ochieng (Vihiga United), Bolton Owenga (Kariobangi Sharks), David Owino (Mathare United)
Teddy Osok (Sofapaka), Sven Yidah (Kariobangi Sharks), Siraji Mohammed (Bandari), Chrispinus Onyango (KCB), Abdalla Ahmad Ahmed (Mathare United), Ibrahim Shambi (Ulinzi Stars), Amai Atariza (Bandari), Juma Henry (Kariobangi Sharks)
Brian Yator (KCB), Okoth Daniel Otieno (Sony Sugar), James Mazembe (Kariobangi Sharks), Jafari Owitti (AFC Leopards), Vincent Oburu (AFC Leopards), Pistone Mutamba (Wazito FC)