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Kenya is in dire need of qualified coaches

AFC Leopards was recently in in the news searching for a coach to replace the sacked James Nandwa. This highlighted the lack of quality trainers, as most Kenyan coaches do not have international qualifications.

England, albeit being better off, is in a similar position. Uefa data shows that only 2,769 English coaches hold top qualifications – Uefa B, A and Pro badges. Spain has produced 23,995 highly-rated coaches, Italy 29,420, Germany 34,970 and France 17,588.

In Kenya, Francis Kimanzi, Hesborn Nyabinge and Salim Ali are a few of our well-trained coaches. They trained at the renowned Dutch-based KNVB Academy.

No coincidence

Kimanzi and the current Ulinzi Stars coach Robert Matano are the only local coaches who have won the league in the last six years. 

It is no coincidence that countries that succeed on the international stage place great emphasis on quality coaching.

Our players lack exposure during their formative years. Former Harambee Stars coach Bernard Lama said our players lacked basic skills such as ball control and passing.

Experts recommend that the system of coaching and player development be enhanced. Players coached well at a young age were technically, physically and mentally prepared for the international stage. 

Kenya’s top clubs such as Sofapaka had to look across the borders for a coach. The team hired Sam Ssimbwa, Stewart Hall and now Sam Timbe to lead the team. 

Gor Mahia’s revival started under the Croat Zdravko Logarusic, while AFC Leopards had a brief resurgence under Belgian Luc Eymael. Few Kenyan coaches have had an opportunity to manage a foreign club. 

Only Rishadi Shedu (Coastal Union), journeyman Tom Olaba (Mtibwa Sugar) and Jacob Ghost Mulee have coached in East Africa.

The rest are locked out due to their questionable training. It is also worth noting that the local coaches who’ve won the league had stints with leading clubs. 

The rest of the coaches appear content with shuffling between mid-table teams and relegation battlers. Zedekiah Zico Otieno, Francis Baraza, Edward Manoah, Alfred Imonje and Sammy Omollo seem to be just moving around the league with no personal ambition.

Questions have been raised about the quality of coach training in Kenya. A joke is told of how local tacticians attend a “one-week” seminar lasting for just one day at City Stadium and returning with questionable coaching badges. 

In Italy, aspiring coaches undergo intensive year-long training that includes placement under a serving tactician at a given club.

Preferred style

The trainees write a thesis critiquing a specific manager and their preferred style of play.

“It an embarrassment that in spite of the tremendous growth of the Kenyan game, there is no corresponding increase in coaching department,” said a source. 

It is high time that local clubs invested in training their ageing players on coaching and managing football. 

Rather than shoving coaches around because of poor results, why not face the real problem – that is the lack of proper skills.