17 December 2012

Kenya: It's Now Official - French Coach Has Quit

Nairobi — French coach Henri Michel has clarified his position as the head of national football team Harambee Stars stating he has relinquished his duties until contractual issues are resolved.

In a communiqué from the French Embassy, Michel sought to dispel doubts surrounding his future that saw him not travel with the team for their Africa Home Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifier in Bujumbura on Sunday.

"To cut short to all the interpretations based on misinformation recently published in the Kenyan press, I would like to clarify that I could not find an amicable agreement within the deadlines regarding my compliance with several provisions of the contract.

"Therefore, I decided to stop working with the Kenyan football federation by registered letter dated December 10," the Monday communication from the Embassy read.

"From today, I will not disclose more on this matter, if not by available legal means. That notwithstanding, I wish Kenyan football the greatest success," the four-time World Cup veteran added in the statement he signed.

Michel, who led Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia and Ivory Coast to the World Cup, was hired by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) in September amid much fanfare to spearhead the country's qualification bid for the 2014 edition in Brazil.

The Frenchman then led the team to loses in international friendlies to South Africa (2-1) and Tanzania (1-0) in October and November in his first two matches in charge.

However, cracks begun emerging earlier this month when he allegedly declined to lead the nation to the regional CECAFA Tusker Cup where under then Under-23 coach James Nandwa, Kenya reached the finals before falling 2-1 to host Uganda.

Amid reports that FKF and the coach were locked in dispute after he failed to be paid his October and November dues with his monthly salary pegged at Sh4m, Michel was absent in the lead-up to departure to Bujumbura for their CHAN first-leg qualifier.

Federation chief Sam Nyamweya poured cold water on the allegations saying that Nandwa, who had been elevated to the senior side assistant coach, would be in charge of the second tier continental tournament.

"Michel will focus on preparing the team for the World Cup qualifiers in March," Nyamweya clarified last week.

The new development however, confirms the feared strained relationship between Michel and FKF has reached its boiling point.

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