Less than 24-hours after Francis Kimanzi dared Football Kenya Limited officials to sack him, they made good their threat and did just that, replacing him with John “Bobby” Ogolla.
FK secretary, Sammy Obingo, said that they were working well with Kimanzi last year, but recent events had been pointing towards strained relations. He cited massive “indiscipline” as the major reason for firing Kimanzi.
Also relieved of his duties is the immediate former Harambee Stars team manager, Peter Serry.
The team’s doctor, Wycliffe Makanga, has been retained for the same position.
In virtual admission that both assistant coaches, James Nandwa and Yusuf Chipo, have also been rendered jobless, Obingo said that since the duo were direct appointees of Kimanzi, it would be understandable if they decided not to continue after the coach leaves.
“FK finds both Kimanzi and Serry totally indisciplined and their continued stay at the helm of Harambee Stars technical bench is not in the best interest of the team on along term,” said Obingo.
But in a quick rejoinder, Kimanzi has termed his dismissal as “quite immature” and said he would continue with his assignment as the Mathare United head coach ahead of the team’s Champions League against Zesco United on January 31.
Obingo criticised Kimanzi for his refusal to assemble the national team for various international friendly matches. FK had landed matches against Yemen and Madrid in December.
The third match is scheduled for Cairo this Saturday.
“FK, with the coach’s consent, had organised for two matches last month. But the coach refused to name a team for the Madrid trip and the next thing we learnt was that he had broken the Stars’ camp,” added Obingo.
Squabbles between the technical bench and FK reached a crescendo last week when Kimanzi declined, yet again, to take a makeshift team for the Cairo match.
Kimanzi, who led a makeshift side to the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup final, in which they lost 1-0 to hosts Uganda, said he was not consulted over the Cairo friendly.
He argues that his bench was not in the know about the match and that it would hurt Kenya’s reputation and lead to a further drop in the country’s world ranking if a half-baked team made the trip to Cairo.
“How can we hurriedly take a second team for a friendly match saying that we are exposing them? This would have been a very unpopular thing to do and I stood my ground that I wouldn’t be part of it,” said Kimanzi, who’s yet to receive his dismissal letter.
His reason for refusing to approve friendlies organised in Spain and Yemen in the last two months was that he didn’t approve them besides the fact that they fell outside Fifa’s window for international friendly matches.
“There are specific Fifa friendly dates in the association’s calendar, yet we don’t want to utilise them. Why insist on dates that will have no meaning in our ranking?” wondered Kimanzi.
Obingo also said that they had to pick Kimanzi’s replacement immediately, since they didn’t want to lose on the Sport Five sponsorship on Harambee Stars.
They were factoring in Sh27 million emanating from the sale of TV rights to the French-owned company.
SuperSport, who were to be covering Harambee Stars matches, lost out on the rights. Sport-Five operates mainly in North/West Africa while SuperSport dominates Sub-Saharan Africa.
It will be the first time that the firm has taken a keen interest on Kenyan Football, and is the first major connection to the French diaspora.
The immediate mandate for Ogolla and Baraza would be to approve a team named by FK Technical Director, Patrick Naggi, to leave for Cairo on Tuesday for the said match.
The Stars start their campaign for the 2010 World Cup and Africa Nations Cup finals with a home game on March 28 against Tunisia.
Other teams in the group are former Africa champions Nigeria and Mozambique.
Obingo threatened clubs that will fail to release their players to join Harambee Stars with sanctions.
“Let it be known by all clubs that they must release their selected players to join the national team, failure to which, FK will sanction such clubs,” he said.
The Stars’s quad named Sunday:
Goalkeepers: Duncan Ochieng (Mathare United), Noah Ayuko (Sher Karuturi).
Defenders: Zablon Amanaka (Sofapaka), Sammy Onyango (Gor Mahia), Mulinge Ndeto (Ulinzi), John Njoroge (Yanga FC), Joseph Shikokoti (Yanga FC), Edgar Ochieng (Mathare United) Pascal Ochieng (KCB).
Midfielders: Joakim Atundo (Tusker FC), Jamal Mohammed (Sweden), Anthony Kimani (Mathare United), Austin Makacha (Mathare United), Ali Breik (Bandari), Joseph Njuguna (Tusker), Abdul Wahab (Bandari), Alfred Mathenge (Thika United), Abdalla Juma (Thika United), Haji Mwachofi (Thika United), Agrey Ongoli (Tusker FC).
Strikers: Augustine Etemesi (Western Stima), John Mwangi (Thika United), and Tony Onyango (Gor Mahia), Kevin Ochieng (Mathare United), Fred Ajwang (Tusker FC), Evans Wandera (Thika United).
Technical bench: John “Bobby” Ogolla (coach), Francis Baraza (assistant coach), Wycliffe Makanga (doctor) and Patrick Naggi (team manager).