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Nick Mwendwa Roasted Over Quality of Harambee Stars Players

The team’s hopes of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar were effectively ended by Mali, who completed a double over them courtesy of a 1-0 win at Nyayo Stadium on Sunday, October 10.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa’s comments on the quality of the players in Kenya’s national football team Harambee Stars have drawn all manner of public criticism.

The team’s hopes of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar were effectively ended by Mali, who completed a double over them courtesy of a 1-0 win at Nyayo Stadium on Sunday, October 10. The first leg consisted of a 5-0 drubbing handed to the Kenyan team in the first leg played in Agadir, Morocco.

Speaking on NTV‘s Game Plan show on Monday, October 11, Mwendwa had attempted to explain the federation’s decision to hire a coach on a short-term basis, noting that the current crop of players in the squad was far below the superior talent in Mali, and by definition the world’s biggest football clubs.

A Harambee Stars player in action against Mali on October 10, 2021. /CAPITAL GROUP

“Even if you bring Jose Mourinho or Mikel Arteta here, the work that needs to be done is we need to bring talent to the table, for you to win you need quality players. Let’s look at Mali, are we better than them? The answer is no because we never brought our players to that level,” he clarified.

Mwendwa explained that the federation was responsible for building coaches at the lower level who are charged with building talent for the future, affirming that the team still needs a top coach who can achieve this within a short time.

“We always wanted a long term coach but for the first time we said it’s the World Cup qualifiers and we needed someone for four games so that we can review his performances,” he added.

The federation settled for German Turkish head coach Engin Firat to take over the reins from Radio Jambo presenter and former Harambee Stars head coach Jacob Ghost Mulee ahead of the qualifiers, for a period of two months. Ghost had parted ways with FKF on the back of draws against Rwanda and Uganda.

Mwendwa explained that his federation was training the coaches that it drafts in to help recognise footballing talent meant to take the nation into a footballing powerhouse and receive the same recognition as athletics.

In a way, he defended Firat’s appointment, despite his last managerial job at Moldova seeing him register a 0% win rate, that is 0 wins, 2 draws and 9 losses in 11 games in charge.

“Do we have a player like Moussa Djenepo (Southampton) but what are we doing to build that player? We have 25 coaches today, having four months of training for the first time in Kenya for our CAF B. We are doing that so that they can find us a Moussa Djenepo or a Bissouma (Brighton),”

“If you look at Moldova, I can tell you they don’t have half the talent we have. They went to France and lost 2-1 against a top side, they went to Denmark and drew, they don’t have half the talents we have, we can debate whether he is a top coach or not,” added Mwendwa.

Mwendwa’s sentiments were not taken lying down by Kenyans, who tore him apart on social media.

“Nick Mwendwa has said on national TV that no Kenyan player could match the talent Mali had when Eric Ouma shut out Djenepo in the entire game. Yes, Kenya is still miles away from the kind of talent Mali exhibits, but the federation boss saying that on live TV was disrespectful,” Zachary Oguda commented.

“Now Nick Mwendwa claims there is no talent in Kenya when we have been thinking that the likes Michael Olunga are ready for EPL. Guys bring back Oliech and Allan Wanga onboard for Uganda and Rwanda games,” added Shynne Kibunga.

With no win in four games, Kenya was out of contention for a spot in the final qualification round of the African qualifiers. It effectively continues the country’s long wait for a feature in the world’s biggest football competition.

Germany national football team became officially the first nation to qualify for the 2022 World Cup with a 4-0 win over Macedonia on Monday to win Group J with two matches to spare. Chelsea players Kai Havertz and Timo Werner as well as Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala secured their fifth win in five games under new coach Hansi Flick and lifted them to 21 points, with Romania in second place on 13.

Germany’s Timo Werner scores against Macedonia on October 11, 2021 /BAVARIAN FOOTBALL WORKS

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Marvin Chege
About author: Digital journalist and managing director with a passion for writing captivating stories. Marvin is a young scribe, a social media, sports, gaming junkie and realist who specialises in viral news, multimedia and investigative storytelling.

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