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Kenya Retains Kimanzi as Soccer Coach
    2008-12-12 02:20:25     Xinhua

Kenya's football governing body, Football Kenya Limited announced on Thursday that it will retain Francis Kinanzi as coach of the national side, Harambee Stars.

FKL chairman Mohammed Hatimy told journalists in Nairobi that Kimanzi's contract will run for one year.

Kimanzi was instrumental in propelling Harambee Stars to the second round of the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations second round qualifiers while in an acting capacity.

His position appeared shaky until Thursday, when the government announced that plans were at an advanced stage to acquire a foreign coach.

"Kimanzi has been tested and has passed the assessment. He has played a big part in making Stars reach the level they have attained and it is only fair to retain him," said Hatimy.

The coach's endorsement comes a few days after Kenya's top professional player Dennis Oliech urged the national body to retain Kimanzi as "you do not change a winning side."

It is not clear whether FKL's decision was influenced by Oliech's sentiments but non-the-less he must have been heard.

Kimanzi's first assignment will be the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) tournament which begins on December 31, 2008 in Uganda. Before that the team will tour Yemen beginning December 26.

Kimanzi who masterminded Stars qualification to the third round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and Africa Cup of Nations said he is looking forward to the qualifying matches.

"I feel very honoured and challenged by the job that lies ahead and I'll try my best to see if we can complete what we began earlier this year," said Kimanzi.

"It's a tough challenge for us but together with my very able technical team I believe we can continue building a stronger team," he added.

Kimanzi who will continue his role as coach of the local side, Mathare United will run the national side under a new management structure which will have a National Team Technical Director.

 
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