The turnover of coaches at the national football team, Harambee Stars, is a recipe for failure, especially when the team is in the middle of a crucial 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
On September 18, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) appointed former Moldova coach Engin Fırat to steer the team, a day after they fired Jacob “Ghost” Mulee barely 11 months into the job. Mulee came in for the fifth time after FKF sacked Francis Kimanzi, who had been reappointed in August 2019, having served twice before (2008-2009 and 2011-2012).
FKF president Nicholas Mwendwa gave Firat two months in his contract. The Turk takes charge of Kenya’s 2022 Fifa World Cup campaign henceforth, stating with the qualifiers — against Mali on October 6 and 12 and Rwanda in November. But tying Firat’s contract to his guiding the Stars to the top of Group E — and hence into the next round— is a tall order, considering that they have lost crucial points so far, having drawn 0-0 with Uganda at home and 1-1 away to Rwanda.
The high turnover of coaches at Harambee Stars is worrying. The team has been handled by six coaches in the past five years. Since Mwendwa took office six years ago, we have had at the helm Bobby Williamson, Stanley Okumbi, Paul Put, Sebastian Migne, Kimanzi, Mulee and now Firat.
The sackings, without plausible explanation, have not only raised eyebrows, but have also caused instability in local football. Kimanzi’s sacking came when the team was in the middle of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group “G” qualifiers, while Mulee has exited during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Kenya did not make the January 9-February 6, 2022 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2022 World Cup campaign looks wobbly. World Cup qualifiers is no child’s play, hence the need for stability and harmony that come from proper planning.