Mwendwa puts Belgian Put in Stars hot seat


Belgian Paul Put shortly after being unveiled as the new Harambee Stars coach by his ...
Belgian Paul Put shortly after being unveiled as the new Harambee Stars coach by his boss, Nick Mwendwa in Mombasa.PHOTO/CITIZEN

Belgian Paul Put has been appointed the new Harambee Stars coach, replacing under-fire tactician Stanley Okumbi, ahead of CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, which kicks off in Kenya on December 3.

Okumbi, Citizen Digital understands, will act as the deputy to the Belgian.

Put takes charges of the team immediately after agreeing to a two-year deal with Football Kenya Federation which made the announcement on Saturday afternoon at its fifth Annual General Meeting which is currently underway at the coastal city of Mombasa.

“This is the big announcement today. We have been consulting on how to restructure to strengthen Harambee Stars technical bench, and Paul Put is our new head coach. He is the best person we have found, and we believe the journey to Afcon 2019 is still a reality even as he takes over,”Mwendwa bullishly charged in his characteristic style.

Immediately after the impromptu announcement which caught delegates by surprise, the federation chief, Nick Mwendwa, said more details we be given in an interview session scheduled later Saturday afternoon with the veteran coach.

Put is seen here standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his boss, Nick Mwendwa as the gathering looks on/PHOTO/CITIZEN
In this blurred image, Put is seen  standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his boss, Nick Mwendwa, as the gathering looks on/PHOTO/CITIZEN.

There has been heightened calls on the federation to give Okumbi the boot in the wake of catastrophic performances by the national football team and it seems, the youthful federation boss has finally bit the bullet.

Under Okumbi, the Stars have blown hot and cold; winning non- consequential friendlies, but failing to stamp their authority in key qualifiers, leaving a bitter-taste in the mouth of the long starving soccer mad fans.

The Belgian, 61, whose last work station was in Algeria where he guided USM Algier, is best remembered for guiding  Burkina Faso to a runners-up place finish in the finals of the 2013 African Cup of Nations which was held in South Africa.

Match fixing allegations has also blighted his long career, leading to a three year ban by the Royal Belgian Football Association for his alleged involvement in the Ye Zheyun match-fixing scandal.

This was after a report by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, in 2014, put Put among people who had fixed two of the 380 matches in Europe.

The controversy aside, he takes over the hot seat that is the Harambee Stars job where, of late, foreign coaches have had little success.

 

Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi gives instructions to his captain Victor Wanyama during evening training session at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on November 9, 2016. Stars are preparing for International friendly match against Mozambique on November 12, 2016. Photo/Oliver Ananda/www.sportpicha.com
Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi gives instructions to his captain Victor Wanyama during evening training session at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on November 9, 2016. Stars are preparing for International friendly match against Mozambique on November 12, 2016. Photo/Oliver Ananda/sportpicha.

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