Mwendwa backs underperforming Okumbi

Wednesday November 8 2017

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa speaks during a press conference on the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup at the The FKF Goal Project offices on November 8, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa speaks during a press conference on the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup at the The FKF Goal Project offices on November 8, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VINCENT OPIYO
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Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa has reiterated his faith in Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi despite public calls to do away with him.

Okumbi, formerly with Kariobangi Sharks and Mathare United, replaced Scottish Bobby Williamson in February last year but has struggled to post convincing results in competitive assignments.

“Yes, we might be doing poorly but we don’t support this aggression doing rounds on our coach. We take in the advice on effecting changes on the technical bench but time isn’t ripe to do the reshuffle,” Mwendwa said.

Okumbi has led Stars in 16 matches attaining just one meaningful win, 2-1 against Republic of Congo in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in June 2016.

He drew 1-1 with Zambia in another qualifier but lost twice to Guinea Bissau finishing bottom of Group E.

The 36-year-old made headlines on questionable team selection when Kenya fell 2-1 to Sierra Leone in the 2019 Cup of Nations first round qualifier mid this year.

He has, however, done well in friendly matches, beating DR Congo twice, Mozambique and Liberia.

That friendly matches record though suffered badly when Stars recently went down 2-1 to Iraq and 1-0 against Asian minnows Thailand.

“Marshall Mulwa, for instance, lost six matches in a row, Okumbi has only lost the last three and everyone wants him out? If we are a bit patient, results will come and we shall do everything possible to qualify for the 2019 Afcon,” an agitated Mwendwa responded.

Kenya has since dropped to position 102 on the Fifa World rankings as a section of National Executive Committee members, reportedly, continue to exert pressure on Mwendwa to hire an experienced foreign coach with Okumbi as his assistant.

“Our national team is doing badly yet FKF is seeking to extend their stay in office, they should focus on ensuring Harambee Stars is doing well in consequential matches than administrative issues,” the chairman of Kenya Football Coaches Association Bob Oyugi said.