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Kimanzi blasts Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup as ‘Jua Kali’ tournament

Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi has hit out at the organisers of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, accusing them of presiding over a ‘Jua Kali’ tournament.

Kenya failed to defend this regional football showpiece in Kampala, finishing third at the eight-team competition after Thursday’s 2-1 win over Tanzania in the playoffs at the StarTimes stadium.

A furious Kimanzi also blamed, among other issues, the notorious Kampala traffic for his team’s shocking 4-1 thrashing by lowly Eritrea in the semis.

“The results we have posted here are important, but the process of achieving them is more important,” observed the coach.

“This tournament doesn’t fall within the Fifa calendar so our clubs back at home are not compelled to release players. I had to literally persuade the clubs to give me players. Then the tournament organisers only allowed us to come with 20 players (instead of 23). I was not in a position to rotate them.”

The former Tusker and Mathare United coach also complained over the poor state of the pitch.

“We are then forced to play a game every two days on an artificial turf which is a hazard that Fifa is trying to ban. You need 72 hours to recover after every game. We are given a small training ground to play and spend two hours in the traffic. Most of my players are injured at the moment. It is a shame,” he lamented.

Kimanzi was slapped with a two-match stadium ban following an altercation with the tournament organizers during the team’s opening game against Tanzania.

“This is a tournament where the standard rules do not even apply. We come here to play and the opposing team players do not have passports when my team manager asks why I am banned. I am mad kabisa. This is a Jua kali tournament.”

This is the third time Kimanzi has come short of winning the tournament. He finished third with the national team in 2008, and fourth while in charge of Mathare United at the Kagame Cup in Sudan a year later.