Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president, Nick Mwendwa, has defended National football team Harambee Stars head coach Sebastian Migne, after the team’s poor run in the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo, Egypt.
FKF boss says Stars coach was tasked to ensure the team qualifies for 2021 AFCON and reach knock-out stage, current event in Cairo was just a by the way.
Stars who were making a return to the continental show piece for the first time in 15 years, only managed a single win out of three matches in the group stage, scoring three goals and conceding seven in the process.
“We never tasked Migne for 2019 AFCON, remember he took over the team in May last year after we had lost our first qualifying match to Sierra Leone and we were not certain of even qualifying for the championship."
His main task is to ensure that we qualify for the 2021 AFCON and steer the team past the group stage and that is why we signed with him a contract going to 2021,” Mwendwa told People Sports.
He added: “Just the way building a house begins from the foundation, we have to start somewhere to build Kenyan football. Uganda Cranes went to the 2017 event in Gabon and failed to win a single match, this time they reached the last 16, that kind of progress is what we are eyeing and the ongoing championship was a good learning opportunity.”
Kenya lost its first match 2-0 to Algeria, before bouncing back to pip neighbours Tanzania 3-2, then lost the final Group C match 3-0 to Senegal.
A section of football enthusiasts and pundits have been calling for the sacking of Migne especially after Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and Egypt Football Association fired their head coaches Emmanuel Amuneke and Javier Aguirre respectively for dismal performance.
Former head coaches
“Firing a coach can be very costly, in fact former Harambee Stars coaches Adel Amrouche and Bobby Robinson are currently demanding Sh60 million and Sh65 million respectively from the federation for termination of their contracts. For Paul Putt, it was a different case because he resigned himself,” Mwendwa said.
He added: “ That doesn’t mean that such a decision cannot be made if the desired results are not being achieved, but we have to give the Frenchman a benefit of doubt give him a chance to deliver on the real tasks we have assigned him to do. We want to be in all big tournaments consistently.”
France Pre-tournament camp
Mwendwa also defended Migne’s decision to take the team to France for a pre-tournament camp despite the fact that the conditions were totally different to the climate in Egypt.
“In France the temperatures were between 16 to 18 degrees centigrade and Migne wanted to get the best from the players at such a cool environment with world class facilities, then use the final five days to acclimitise to the high Egyptian temperatures, which I think was a good idea,” he said.