The Star (Nairobi)

27 September 2012

Kenya/Rwanda: Strikers Off Key

Michel says he is yet to see a proper striker in local Premier League

Kenyan strikers plying their trade in the domestic Premier League received a harsh indictment on their ability from Harambee Stars coach Henri Michel. The coach admitted he has yet to see a striker of the meanest goal scoring threat during his short stay in the country.

"I have not seen a striker who has all the attributes of a future star in the domestic league. But that is not a major problem because there is still a lot of room for improvement among the players and that is why we are here to help improve the potential that we have seen so far," he said. The Frenchman was speaking through his interpreter and assistant Samir Ajam as he took the Kenyan national team through their paces in his first training session since he was appointed on a 13-month contract by Football Kenya Federation last month.

Among the forwards called up into the national team include Allan Wanga, Mike Barasa (AFC Leopards) Wycliffe Ochomo (Ulinzi Stars), Rama Salim (Gor Mahia), Moses Arita, John Nairuka (Thika United), Bob Mugalia, John Baraza (Sofapaka), Wesley Kemboi (Western Stima) and Enock Agwanda (Sony Sugar).

Michel admitted he has liked what he has seen in the players so far and urged those not in the team not to give up as the door is still open for anyone to join Harambee Stars. "The players who are in camp may not necessarily be there next time and the ones who I did not call up may also get their opportunity and they should keep on working hard," Michel said.

The coach admitted he has had little time to pay attention to the lower leagues as his tight schedule has limited him to only concentrate on the top flight league. "Focusing on the lower league is a long term process and luxury that we cannot afford now as we look to getting immediate results," he said.

Stars play Burundi in the African Nations Championships qualifiers in December and are expected to play a friendly match against Rwanda next month. "We want to utilise the Fifa international week to monitor the form of our foreign-based players because unlike the clubs, you do not get the opportunity to work with the national team players all the time," Michel explained.

The Stars head coach said he was seeking the possibility of harmonising the Premier League calendar and the Harambee Stars schedule in order to give him ample opportunity to work with the players during the league season before Stars resume their 2014 World Cup qualifiers with a match against Nigeria in March.

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