Is Juma the best coach that Stars never had?
KCB’s Abdalla Juma should be considered for what has recently become a controversial job –the Harambee Stars’ head coach.
Over the years, the bankers’ coach has shown that with meagre resources he can build stars, and even revive careers of those who were fading.
Brian Osumba’s case is a good example of Juma’s ability to sharpen young players.
Osumba was voted the best midfielder in the Kenyan Premier League last year during one of the bankers’ most successful seasons since they were first promoted to the top flight in 1998.
The career of the 2013 Footballer of the Year Jacob Keli, who formerly played for KCB, took an unexpected turn for the better and credit goes to Juma.
Keli had previously played for Mathare United and Thika United, before returning to KCB in 2013 and is now at AFC Leopards.
His former striking partner at KCB, Clifford Alwanga, who has since joined Tusker, was also moulded by Juma.
The coach’s prowess was evident when he handled Thika United where he spent eight years. He formed a strong team at Thika from which current coach John Kamau is reaping the benefits.
Juma guided Thika to a third place finish during the 2009 league, a year after finishing fifth.
While at Thika, he built a strong youth system that helped propel players such as Moses Arita, Crispin Olando, Kepha Aswani and Joel Bataro to the limelight.
After a slip up during the 2011 season, Juma and Thika parted ways. When he joined KCB in 2013, the team had finished 10th during the previous season.
He cleaned-up the team by getting rid of players who were not committed to his cause. His impact was felt immediately, as the club rose to clinch fourth place in the league last season.
The national team is enjoying a honeymoon with Belgian Adel Amrouche, but as has been witnessed with several national teams abroad such as England, a time comes when a local coach is the preferred choice.
When Kenyans finally get fed up of getting the same results from foreign coaches, a Kenyan – and Juma for that matter – should get the job.
Most foreign coaches leave because of financial problems, an indicator that we need to start operating within our budget.
There is plenty of talent in Kenya as a number of local footballers are doing well in the European leagues. The main setback, however, is lack of mentors, and this is where Juma comes in.
KCB is functioning on a shoestring budget and Juma has proven that one doesn’t need tonnes of money to perform.
Sometimes foreign coaches make demands, yet produced little or no results. Harambee Stars neither qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations nor the World Cup that starts in Brazil in June.
The team needs a coach who is in touch with players’ strengths and is able to produce winners with limited resources.
As Football Kenya Federation chews on that, it should consider appointing Juma in charge of one of the junior teams to prove whether he can deliver at international level.
This will help him gain experience to add to what he has so far achieved.