KPL has done well in managing national team

Before the start of the 2010 World Cup qualifying matches all looked bleak for Kenya. They had no coach, there was no money and the Government was not willing to commit itself in the rescue mission.

National team Harambee Stars had also dropped to all time low in the Fifa rankings.

Like the proverbial Messiah came the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) to rescue a national team whose future looked bleak.

They announced a partnership deal with Kenya Football Federation (KFF) and first was a change of guard on the technical bench and I went out with my team and in came Francis Kimanzi with his new technical staff. Masita apparel was replaced with a new Adidas kit and finally a new hit squad was named.

In just three weeks what had appeared as a dying horse woke up with so much vigour you would think it was pumped with steroid and any other performance-enhancing drug available in the drugstores.

There was a sigh of relief when we won two matches at home after a false start in Namibia. The country woke up to a new lease of life and the stadiums were back to full capacity in the home matches once again.

So what actually was the problem with Stars? Many a fan would argue that the problem was the coach. My little experience in football tells me a change is as good as a rest and maybe Yes I might have outlived my usefulness to the team.

I remember the match against Tanzania at Nyayo National Stadium when a section of the crowd was chanting ‘Ghost must go’ before Francis Ouma, the new kid on the block popped up with a fine header to save a situation that would have been ugly if the match ended in a draw.

After the loss in the return leg the die had been cast for ‘Ghost’ though I had a press conference to exonerate myself from the blame just like the former Finance minister Amos Kimunya and refused to resign as expected.

In just three weeks in charge KPL has shown what professionalism can do to football in this country. Off went the blame games, non-payment of allowances was a thing of the past, team accommodation and training facilities were put in place and for the first time in a long time the coach was able to concentrate on the team and our boys look good in their new travel suits.

So the big question remains do we really need KFF to handle Stars if what they have failed to do in all these years KPL has been able to do in just over three weeks?

— The writer is the Tusker coach and took the national team Harambee Stars to the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

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