Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Kenyan Minister Hails Keshi, Roots for African Coaches

Nairobi — Ababu Namwamba, Kenya's Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, has hailed coach Stephen Keshi for guiding Nigeria to victory in the 2013 AFCON finals in South Africa.

Namwamba said he was rooting for African tacticians.

Keshi, 51, a former Super Eagles defender and captain, is one of only two people -- the other being Egypt's Mahmoud El-Gohary - to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as both player and coach.

Namwamba, speaking on Wednesday at the unveiling of Adel Amrouche as the head coach of the Kenya senior national team, Harambee Stars, said African coaches and players had what it takes to guide their teams to victory in global competitions.

Amrouche, who is a Belgian national, is of Algerian origin.

He takes over from Frenchman Henri Michel, who quit the post in December 2012 after disagreeing with Football Kenya Federation (FKF) over the country's participation in a regional event.

Michel opted to terminate his contract after declining to handle Kenya's team to the Tusker Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda, saying that the tournament 'added no value', to the team and was not in his scheme of things.

His deputy, James Nandwa, a Kenyan, stepped in, taking Kenya to the final of the annual regional event where Kenya finished second after slipping 1-2 to hosts Uganda.

The minister lauded Nandwa for Kenya's 3-0 victory over Libya in a recent international friendly in Tunis, Tunisia. Noting that for Kenya, beating North African teams on home soil has always been a daunting task.

Amrouche has also coached the Equatorial Guinea national team, Burundi and renowned DR Congo club, Motema Pembe.

He said Kenya and Africa in general had the materials for producing good players and coaches.

Namwamba also gave the FKF the government's go-ahead to bid for the 2015 CAF Africa U-17 tournament and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

"This is the strong voice of the Government, if it is what you were waiting for. The Government is fully behind you," he told FKF President Sam Nyamweya. NAN

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