Ex-Harambee Stars coach set to replace sacked Francis Kimanzi
Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee is set to return as Harambee Stars coach following Francis Kimanzi’s abrupt departure.
Nation Sport understands the experienced Mulee could be unveiled Wednesday morning as the team’s interim coach to prepare for 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification matches at home and away to Comoros between November 9 and 17.
Mulee, 52, is best remembered for mentoring star forward Michael Olunga and leading Kenya to the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia.
He currently coaches at his football academy in Nairobi and also works as a radio presenter and TV pundit.
Kimanzi, meanwhile, appears to be the biggest casualty yet of a bruising political fallout within Football Kenya Federation (FKF) after Saturday’s national elections.
The 45-year old was shown the door two days after Nick Mwendwa and Doris Petra were re-elected FKF president and deputy president respectively.
The electioneering period at FKF lasted more than a year and was punctuated by numerous court cases amidst calls for the formation of a Normalization Committee to manage the game pending fresh elections.
All indications are that Kimanzi, who lost in only one of the nine matches since taking charge 14 months ago, did not see the sack coming.
His stand-out results, in what was his third stint at Stars, were the 1-1 draw away to African giants Egypt in Alexandria and a similar result at home to Togo in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last November.
He was in charge of Kenya’s 2-1 win over Zambia in an international friendly match 10 days ago and told the media after the match that he was using that encounter to gauge his charges ahead of the contests versus Comoros.
“We have not played for a long time and you could see some heavy legs in the final minutes. I am pleased with the work rate of the team and at least know what to expect as we prepare for Comoros,” he said.
But now he is gone.
He was reportedly summoned by Mwendwa and other football officials on Friday and informed that his position in the team had been affected by some “restructuring” that was about to take place.
Also asked to pack up and leave was Kimanzi’s assistant Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno and goalkeeping coach Lawrence Webo.
FKF later released a statement indicating that both parties had parted ways by “mutual consent”.
“The federation is immensely grateful to coach Kimanzi and other departing members of staff for their exemplary work, dedication and unrivalled professionalism which has strengthened Kenya’s chances for the Afcon 2022 final tournament,” read the FKF statement.
Kenya coaches under Mwendwa’s tenure
February 2016-October 2017;
March 2018-April 2018
Was at the helm of Kenya’s failed bid to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations characterised by losses at home and away to Guinea Bissau. Also came under criticism over his team selection.
November 2017-February 2018
The highlight of his three-month stint was guiding Kenya to rousing Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup triumph on home soil in December 2017 only to leave in a huff week’s later but not before criticising Kenya’s football for the “mediocre” level of coaches.
May 2018-August 2019
Qualified Kenya for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt. Registered that historic 1-0 victory over Ghana. Was sacked following a disappointing home loss to Tanzania in the 2020 Africa Nations Championship qualification match.
August 2019-October 2020
Led the team to the final of the 2019 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup and exciting draw away to Egypt in Alexandria in the opening match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Cup qualifiers.