News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Kenya demotes Okumbi Harambee Stars coach

Stanley Okumbi: demoted

Stanley Okumbi, the stand-in coach for the Kenyan soccer team, the Harambee Stars,  has been demoted to the youth ranks to take charge of the Kenyan Under-20 team.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa on Wednesday confirmed the changes, which pave the way for the country to name a new foreign coach to lead the Harambee Stars after the resignation of Belgian Paul Put last month.

FKF is expected to announce a foreign tactician soon with Dutchman Ruud Krool tipped to take over as coach.

Okumbi’s demotion was catalyzed by Kenya’s failure to win in their last two international friendly matches against lowly-ranked opponents in Marrakech, Morocco.

The Harambee Stars lost 3-2 on Tuesday to the Central African Republic, just three days after forcing a 2-2 draw with the tiny island state of Comoros. The result will have a negative impact on Kenya’s ranking by FIFA.

“Okumbi has been redeployed to handle the Under 20 side. Coach Frank Ouna will now focus on the Kenyan Premier League side Wazito FC while goalkeeper coach Haggai Azande goes back to Tusker FC. Both Ouna and Azande will be redeployed soon for other national team roles,” Mwendwa said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Okumbi was first named Harambee Stars coach in Feb. 2016 but failed in his core mandate to guide the team to win qualification to the 2017 African Nations Cup.

Mwendwa said Kenya was still on course to qualify for the 2019 Africa Nations Cup, which will be the main goal of the new foreign coach once named.

Kenya lost in the first leg match against Sierra Leone and must up their game against giants Ghana and Ethiopia if they are to make it to the finals in Cameroon in 2019.

In addition to hosts Cameroon, the 12 group winners will qualify alongside the three best runners-up.  Enditem