Kimanzi blames Harambee Stars’ struggles on ‘low quality’ of FKF Premier League

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FOOTBALL Kimanzi blames Harambee Stars’ struggles on ‘low quality’ of FKF Premier League

Joel Omotto 07:57 - 08.07.2023

The former Mathare and Wazito FC coach does not see the national team posting impressive results until the local league improves

Former Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi has blamed the national team’s dismal performance to the low standards of the Football Kenya Federation Premier League.

Harambee Stars have not enjoyed success since they qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and just last month, suffered an embarrassing 1-0 loss to lowly ranked Mauritius in the Four-Nations tournament.

While many have blamed head coach Engin Firat for lacking the tactical knowhow to get the best out of the players, Kimanzi, who has had three stints with the national team, feels the blame lies elsewhere.

“I have a lot of people calling me and saying; ‘come back and rescue us’ because things are not good,” Kimanzi told Pulse Sports.

“The football is not great, the games are boring, the standards of our league have really gone down. If Gor Mahia won the title with a weak team like the one they had, you can imagine how the rest are,” he added.

“In the end, it hurts the national team. We cannot perform well with the national team if our league is poor.”

Kimanzi was the coach when Kenya recorded their best ever FIFA ranking in 2008 when they were 68th in the world, which he recently attributed to harmony within the playing unit and technical bench plus the availability of quality players.

“We had quality players in terms of team balance, lines, and positions, which reduced the balance with team building. So, our part was just about fixing a few things. I believe the generation of footballers then was good,” he told Radull Live last month.

Kenya, who have partly been affected by their close to one-year FIFA ban slapped on the country in February 2022, are currently ranked a lowly position 105 and things do not look like improving soon.

The former Mathare United, Tusker FC and Wazito FC coach feels fans will need to be patient with the national team as thing will not change instantly, no matter who is in charge, until the quality of the local league improves.

With the FIFA ban seeing Kenya kicked out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Harambee Stars will have to wait until November for competitive matches when the 2026 World Cup qualification journey will start.