Why Coach Kimanzi had to pack-up and leave
Details have emerged on why Francis Kimanzi had to be replaced by Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee as Harambee Stars’ head coach a few days before the team meets Group G leaders Comoro.
On Tuesday, local football enthusiasts were stunned by information from the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) secretariat that Kimanzi had quit his job by mutual consent.
“The federation is immensely grateful to coach Kimanzi and his departing members of staff that include Assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno and goalkeeper trainer Lawrence Webo for their exemplary work, dedication and unrivalled professionalism, which has strengthened Kenya’s chances of qualifying for the Afcon 2022 final tournament,” read a statement from the federation Chief Executive Officer Barry Otieno.
However, People Sport has realised that the relationship was not as rosy as it seemed and that there were a number of underlying issues that eventually cost the veteran tactician his job and Otieno and Webo who were caught in the cross fire could not be spared the sack as well.
It’s believed Kimanzi raised issues about allowances for the national team prior to their October 9 international friendly build-up match against Zambia at Nyayo Stadium.
The situation was salvaged by the makeshift team captain Brian Mandela after the intervention of FKF President Nick Mwendwa.
“He kept on complaining that the federation chiefs were delaying on settling their allowances yet they were spending a lot of money in campaigns that were held last weekend.
This was not taken well by the senior officials who have been having issues silently with the attitude of the coach,” said a senior federation official who sought anonymity.
The person added: “Zico (Otieno) is our person, we will get him a job somewhere because this time he just had to go since there is no way you can sack a head coach and leave his back staff.”
Kimanzi’s problems seem to have started in December during the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) Senior Challenge when he also urged the players not to honour the tournament’s opening match against Tanzania as he demanded answers on why two Tanzania players had presented temporary passports and not their real travel documents during a pre-match function.
The match that was being aired live finally went on despite being delayed, after Mwendwa intervened through a phone call from Nairobi and the tournament orginisers banned him for two matches because of the go slow.
Another official termed Kimanzi as a man who makes his own choices and severally clashed with the federation top brass when being forced to consider specific players in the national team and pointed out that, that could be another reason why he had to be shown the door prematurely before the end of his contract.
When reached for comment he said: “The only thing I can say is that I am happy with the results I achieved with the team.
I have left with a clear conscience because I left the team better than I found it and I left by mutual consent. Other claims that cannot be verified are just rumours.”