19 February 2018

Kenya: Harambee Stars Head Coach Put Resigns

Photo: Chris Omollo/Daily Nation
Harambee Stars coach Paul Put gives instructions from the touch-line during their Cecafa Senior Challenge Group.

Harambee Stars head coach Paul Put has resigned, barely three months after being appointed to take over the role, the Football Kenya Federation has announced.

"The tactician's resignation, though down to personal reasons is a setback to the country's ongoing 2019 AFCON qualifiers as he was an integral member of the Technical Bench. In light of the foregoing, FKF has already begun the process of finding a suitable replacement to fill Mr. Put's position, with Stanley Okumbi taking charge of the national team in the interim period," the federation said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

Put who led Burkina Faso to their first ever African Cup of Nations final was announced as the new boss of the national team last November during the FKF Annual General meeting in Mombasa with high hopes that he was the one to lead Kenya back to the Cup of Nations.

And he showed exactly that when in his first attempt, barely a week after taking charge, led Harambee Stars to the CECAFA Senior Challenge title with a post-match penalties win over Zanzibar in Machakos.

However, he seemed to have riled the wrong forces less than two weeks ago when he insinuated that he wanted to have his own backroom stuff, saying it was a decision to bulk up the tactical and technical know-how ahead of the AFCON qualifiers.

"When you have people like Wanyama (Victor), Olunga (Michael) playing at the highest level, you also have to approach them at a higher level. There will be people coming in yes. I can't say I'm not happy, because everyone has been doing his best," the tactician said in a past interview.

He added; "My work is to get improvement and make sure everything is professional. They don't have to take it they are not good enough, it is because we are at a higher level."

FKF refused to comment on the matter when it came up, but promised to release a statement 'in due time'. That statement has now emerged, is Put's resignation.

Put and Okumbi were together last weekend during Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards' continental matches in Machakos and Kakamega respectively and seemed in good accord.

The tactician had rolled out his plans for the new year before the crucial 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifier against Ghana in September, saying he wanted at least two matches in March and two more in May.

Sources intimate that the Belgian is among the close to 80 applicants who have cast an eye on the vacant managerial job for the Guinean national team.

While some quarters intimate that Put might have made the decision to leave as fast as he came in with his demands seemingly not being met, others have placed a financial tag on the coach's decision to leave.

FKF has been complaining of financial difficulty after its biggest partner, betting firm SportPesa announced that it was withdrawing from its sponsorship over the betting law passed by parliament and signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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