'I am ready for the challenge,'says Michel as he takes over Stars

Aug 28, 2021
  • Harambee Stars coach Henri Michel who was unveiled on Tuesday in Nairobi.(Photo:Shutterspeed)

Frenchman Henri Michel was unveiled on Tuesday well aware of the huge task ahead of him, but eyeing a turnaround in fortunes for an out of luck Harambee stars.

Michel said that although his knowledge of Kenyan football by large East African football is limited, he is prepared for the challenge.

“I am very proud to have been chosen by the Kenyan Federation to be at the helm of the national team. Through the support of all football stakeholders, I hope to take Kenyan football to a higher level in the continent”, Michel through a translator.

Speaking during the launch in Nairobi, Sam Nyamweya described Michel as an experienced coach with an impeccable track record and great knowledge of African football.

“We didn’t merely pick Michel because he is a foreign coach but because he had the best credential from the pool of 80 candidates who applied for the job”, Nyamweya said.

It was not immediately clear the length of Michel’s contract. The new coach mandate will also include building the national Under 17, Under 20 and Under 23 teams.

The national team’s job has been vacant since June when former coach Francis Kimanzi was redeployed in the position of technical director immediately after Harambee Stars were knocked out of 2013 Africa Cup Nations qualifiers.

The team’s chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup have also diminished after picking just one point in two fixtures, a fact which the Olympics gold (1984) winning coach alluded to.

“The task of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup is complicated because we didn’t start the campaign well.

But we have enough time to prepare between now and March next year when we have our next fixture”, he said.

As was expected, the event was well attended though Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Dr Paul Otuma were conspicuously absent.

Sports Commissioner, who spoke on behalf of Otuoma, challenged Michel to include local coaches in his technical team to help him identify and nurture talent.

However, it emerged that Michel will bring along atleast two of his own assistants.

The designated fitness coach Florent Motta was present at the ceremony while Samir Ajam of Morocco is due to arrive in the country wednesday.

FKF also hopes to get an additional local assistant.

Michel’s appointment is the culmination of long vetting process that began three months ago before the federation announced a 10-man shortlist early this month.

The Among the big names in the initial list were those of immediate former French national team coach Raymond Domenech, Otto Pfister of Germany and Claude Leroy of France.

The much-travelled Michel has previously coached the national teams of Cameroon, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Morocco. The Frenchman has also coached top Arab and African clubs including Zamalek (Egypt), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) and Raja Casablanca (Morocco.

His last posting was with the national team of Equatorial Guinea, which he led to Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the year.

The tournament was co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

 

 

Nesta Kizito

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