NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – Francis Kimanzi says his decision to walk away as the Mathare United head coach was the hardest in his career, but notes he had to do it to progress his own ambitions as a tactician.
Mathare announced on Thursday that Kimanzi was stepping aside from his role as the club’s head coach to focus on his job at the national team where he is Sebastien Migne’s assistant as well as the coach for the Under-23 team.
“It is a tough decision when you have to leave in environment where you thought you were doing the best and had a project you were pushing . Sometimes you have to make hard decisions; in life some decisions are difficult to make and this was one of them. But at the end of the day, it’s important that I keep on progressing,” Kimanzi told Capital Sport.
The tactician rejoined Mathare United in December 2015 and has led a revivavl of the club from one that nearly suffered relegation to a mid-table side with ambition of climbing to the top five.
In his first season in charge, he led Mathare to a seventh place finish, but dropped to 13th in 2017 after a torrid second leg. In 2018, the Slum Boys rose to finish eighth before rising again to sixth in the just concluded 2018/2019 season.
“I think I cannot regret because I had one mission and that I wanted to take the team back on and make them another force. By the time I left there were some good indicators that we were getting somewhere,” Kimanzi said
“We work with smaller budget with some untested talent but still manage to compete and that was something that excited me more,” Kimanzi further stated.
Even as he takes his concentration to national duty, Kimanzi says he will still be open to offer consultancy services to any club in the country, noting that he does not want to stay away from the local game.
“You have to be close to the game. You can always consult and help anywhere you are called upon and always be engaged with youth players. I will try to have a balance in between. I can’t be too far from the game because that’s what we want to do on a daily basis,” further stated the Dutch-trained coach.
Salim Ali who was his assistant, will now take charge on a permanent as the head coach.