Kenya Premier League (KPL) Chief Executive Jack Oguda opines that Harambee Stars’ disappointing returns in the 2020 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers is not a reflection of the quality of the country’s top-flight football league which he administers.
He is also questioning the national football team’s preparations and coach Sebastien Migne’s team selection in the run-up to Sunday’s dramatic 4-1 post-match penalties loss to Tanzania at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani last Sunday.
Kenya’s developmental side lost 4-1 on post-match penalties to Taifa Stars to go out of the running for next year’s Africa Nations Championship in Cameroon.
This tournament is a preserve of players competing in their respective local leagues.
Kenya and Tanzania had tied 0-0 in successive matches played in Dar-es-Salaam and Nairobi prompting the match referee to signal for penalties, from where veteran Tanzania keeper Juma Kaseja starred.
“The preparations for this match (against Tanzania) were not good. I read in the papers Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was trying to look for funds,” said Oguda.
“We have a quality league and you can link that to Gor Mahia’s performances on the continent. Kariobangi Sharks too, have recently played very well against (English Premier League side) Everton and (Ghana’s) Asante Kotoko.”
Kenya coach Migne selected 22 players from the KPL against Tanzania but overall the team struggled to impose themselves on the pitch.
And even when they did, Enos Ochieng and Whyvonne Isuza missed three glorious chances to score even as the French coach reportedly dared FKF president Nick Mwendwa to sack him in his post-match comments.
Besides being in charge of Kenya since May 2018, Migne has also come under scrutiny after losing to Tanzania’s Burundi coach Etienne Ndayiragije, who has barely been in charge for a month.
Ndayiragije, whose full-time job is as coach of top-flight side Azam FC, was appointed by the Tanzania Football Federation as interim coach to replace sacked Nigerian Emmanuel Amunike following the Taifa Stars’ poor show at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ndayiragije only started his job as Tanzania coach after leading Azam to the final of the Cecafa Kagame Cup in Rwanda last month.
“Kenya would have been stronger if the coach included top performers in our league like (Allan) Wanga and (Nicholas) Kipkurui against Tanzania,” added Oguda.
Wanga, who has since announced his retirement from international football, scored 18 league goals last season.
Kipkurui scored 14 times in the league, domestic cup, and continental assignments.
Migne meanwhile, selected Sydney Lokale and Duke Abuya who scored six and four league goals respectively, to lead Kenya’s attack against Tanzania.
KPL top goalscorer Enos Ochieng who bagged 20 goals last season only came on as a late sub and failed to make an impact.
Defender Bernard Ochieng who was impressive for Kenya against Senegal at the recent Africa Nations Cup in Egypt was also surprisingly dropped against Tanzania for Michael Kibwage who missed the opening penalty.
Sofapaka forward Pistone Mutamba also seems to have fallen out of favour with Migne after he recently featured against Ghana in a competitive game.
The defeat to Tanzania meanwhile highlights Kenya’s woeful performance in this competition.
Even though the Chan qualification matches pit Harambee Stars against teams from the East and Central Africa region, Kenya is yet to qualify for the showpiece since its inception, missing out on editions played in Ivory Coast, Sudan, South Africa, Rwanda and Morocco in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2018 respectively.
Some of the embarrassing losses Kenya has suffered in the qualifiers include against Burundi, Uganda and now twice to Tanzania.
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Publish date : 2019-08-06 08:15:05