Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has urged the government and the private sector to support coach Francis Kimanzi with a view to realising the dream of taking Harambee Stars to the Fifa World Cup for the first time in 2022.
Speaking on Tuesday in Nairobi during the unveiling of the 43-year-old coach who has signed a two-year contract with FKF, Mwendwa said it will take concerted effort from all if Kenya is to qualify for 2022 Fifa World Cup, to be held in Qatar.
Mwendwa also announced that Kenya will play two international friendly matches against Uganda and Libya home and away next month to help Kimanzi and his assistant Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno identify and prepare a team for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers away to Egypt and at home to Togo in November.
“The plan for Kimanzi was always to replace Migne and we knew about this when we appointed him last year,” said Mwendwa.
“I know he will succeed. Local coaches on the continent have proven they are good enough for the job and that’s why I trust Kimanzi and Zico with the job,” he added.
“I have informed the Ministry (of Sports) about contracts for the new coaches and we are expecting support from them.”
And Kimanzi, who won the Kenyan Premier League title with Mathare United in 2008, said he would be fair in his team selection while offering opportunities for selection to every player, regardless of age or club affiliation.
"We laid a good foundation with our former coach, (by) qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 15-years," Kimanzi said.
"This is a continuation of the good job we did, and we are looking forward to accomplishing our biggest challenge of getting the team to the next continental championship (Africa Cup of Nations) in 2021."
Kimanzi replaces Frenchman Sebastien Migne who was sacked at the start of this month following Kenya's elimination from the 2020 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) by Tanzania.
Kimanzi has been tasked with helping Harambee Stars retain the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup title in Kampala in December.
He has also been tasked with leading Kenya to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon.
He will be assisted by 'Zico', with current AFC Leopards goalkeeper trainer Lawrence Webo also making a return to the national team in the same capacity.
Long-serving physician Wycliffe Makanga retains his position in the squad as the team doctor whilst Mike Igendia and Enos Karani are the physical and conditioning coaches.
"Things are better now than they were 10 years ago when I was the coach of the national team. We have the support of the federation and most of the players are both experienced and exposed. We will give them chances to perform," Kimanzi said.
Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama, lead striker Michael Olunga, and Sweden-based midfielder Eric Johanna have led in congratulating Kimanzi following his appointment.