Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Michel to coach moribund Stars

PHOTO | FILE Former France football coach Henri Michel takes Cote d’Ivoire players through the paces during a training session. The Frenchman is set to be unveiled next week.
In Summary
  • Ex-France tactician, to be unveiled on Tuesday, seen as Kenya’s vehicle to football success
  • 64-year-old Michel beat other top international coaches, among them Adel Amrouche, Tom Saintfiet and Raymond Domenech, to the job
  • The Frenchman knows the rugged terrain of African football, having been in the continent for two decades since he first coached Cameroon in 1994

Former France coach Henri Michel will next week be named coach of the national football team, Harambee Stars.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) chairman Sam Nyamweya confirmed to the Nation on Tuesday that Michel has accepted to take over the reins at the national team and will be unveiled by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“We have finalised negotiations,” Nyamweya said. “We are working closely with the Prime Minister, who has played a big role in helping us scout for a top coach.”
During the launch of Harambee Stars sponsorship deal with East African Breweries Limited, the Premier suggested that the government would consider picking up the bill of paying for a good coach.
The 64-year-old Michel beat other top international coaches to the final line when, last week, FKF whittled down their shortlist to four – Adel Amrouche, Tom Saintfiet, Raymond Domenech and Michel.
“We need a qualified foreign coach who can turn around the country’s football,” Nyamweya added.
“You can see how Uganda and Tanzania have improved over the years while Kenya cannot qualify for Africa Cup of Nations, let alone even make it to the to the second round of the regional championships.
“That is not to say our local coaches are not qualified, but you have seen where we are with the homegrown coaches who have handled the team.
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“We now need to try elsewhere.”
Ability to bring success
Michel’s papers speak volumes about his ability to bring success to Harambee Stars but whether Kenya will manage to pay him also raises questions.
He guided the French national team to the Olympic gold medal in 1984 and the third place at the 1986 World Cup.
The Frenchman knows the rugged terrain of African football, having been in the continent for two decades since he first coached Cameroon in 1994.
Having also had two stints with Morocco – in 1995 and 2000, in 2001 to 2002 Michel took Tunisia to the World Cup, the same result he registered with Cote d’Ivoire in 2006. He also coached Zamalek of Egypt, Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) and Morocco’s Raja Casablanca.
His last job was as coach of the Equatorial Guinean national team.
Michel however faces a Herculean task. Kenya lies at position 126 in the global football ranking, the country’s worst ever, and the team’s fortunes continue to dwindle.
Already out of the race to the 2013 Nations Cup, Kenya’s chances of making it to the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil look bleak following their loss to Namibia and a draw with Malawi.
Two weeks ago, Nyamweya said part of the work of the new coach would be to help in youth development and work with the FKF technical department to identify areas to set up youth centres.