Former Harambee Stars coach Paul Put gives instructions to players during a past training session at Utalii Sports Club ground. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLOFormer Harambee Stars coach Paul Put gives instructions to players during a past training session at Utalii Sports Club ground. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO
By DAVID KWALIMWA

Former Harambee Stars coach Paul Put says a lack of urgency in employing a professional backroom staff prompted his decision to leave the national team job.

In an exclusive interview with Nairobi News on Friday, the Belgian trainer also shared his regret after quitting from the role barely three months after he was hired.

“For a moment I thought we (Harambee Stars) could qualify to play at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. The players were very hardworking and determined,” he said.

“It was in my contract we qualify for this tournament else I lose (my job). Yet, it (qualification) wasn’t a straight forward matter. You know Kenya last played at the competition 14-years ago. So we had to do things differently.”

PROFESSIONAL STAFF

“That’s why I said professional people should help me. I made the request in December but by February there was nothing. And yet we have friendlies in March when I’m supposed to gauge very many things and prepare for (Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against) Ghana in September.”

Put abruptly quit the Stars job on February 19, with Football Kenya Federation stating in a statement he had resigned for ‘personal reasons.’

He left a month after winning the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup with a team of local based players and was yet to meet and work with the foreign based legion including captain Victor Wanyama, Michael Olunga, Ayub Timbe and Jesse Were.

A week to his resignation, the 61-year old had expressed his desire to shuffle his technical bench, a move that would have seen deputy coaches Stanley Okumbi and John Kamau pave way for European based professionals.

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa has announced Put’s replacement will be named before Stars play Gambia and Comoros in friendlies in late March.

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