Kenya: Harambee Stars Coaching Job Very Much a Game of Musical Chairs

17 September 2021

The position of Kenya's Harambee Stars head coach is proving to be a hot seat particularly under the regime of Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa.

Jacob "Ghost" Mulee surprisingly exited the job on Wednesday evening becoming the sixth coach to leave the Harambee Stars job, and the seventh change, in five years, that is an average of just over one coach a year.

Mulee was sent packing on Wednesday evening barely 11 months into the job.

Of worry is that little explanation is given of the parting of ways other than the perfunctory "on mutual consent" with the team left in high seas.

Francis Kimanzi's exit last year was particularly baffling as his performance had been spot on and the team had a shouting chance of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The appointment of untested Stanley Okumbi in 2016 was as mysterious as it was disappointing. His record left Kenyans wondering what the federation had seen in him.

Mulee, a popular radio presenter was shown the door together with his assistant Twahir Muhhidin and goalkeeping coach Haggai Azande.

Assistant coaches Ken Odhiambo and William Muluya were retained as the federation searched for a new replacement.

"FKF and Harambee Stars tactician Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee, his assistant Twahir Muhiddin and goalkeeping coach Haggai Azande have reached a decision to part ways on mutual consent, effective immediately," said a statement signed by FKF Secretary Barry Otieno on Wednesday.

Others who have left abruptly since Mwendwa was elected FKF boss in February 2016 include Scot Bobby Williamson, Okumbi, Belgium Paul Put and Frenchman Sebastien Migne.

However, the high turnover of national team coaches without plausible explanations has raised eye brows.

It was reported that Kimanzi was fired for his stand on wanting to make the final call on team selection and preparations.

Mulee recently denied observations that he was selecting undeserving players in the national team under the influence of a higher power within the football hierarchy.

This accusations forced the 53-year-old former Tusker tactician to come out forcefully before Harambee Stars played Rwanda in an Afcon qualifier on September 5.

"The reports are false, I'm fully in-charge and nobody has pushed me to ensure a certain player features in the qualifiers," said Mulee in Kigali.

Talk of the federation pushing player selection has persisted ever since Okumbi made his first call-up list that was filled with several Kariobangi Sharks players.

Turk Engin Firat and former Kenya international Zedekiah "Zico" Otieno are favourites to replace Mulee, Nation Sport understands.

Kenya's next assignments are two back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Mali next month.

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