James Magayi @magayijim
For the second year running, former Chemelil Sugar head coach Francis Baraza will deputise a Ugandan at Tusker FC. Baraza’s ambitions of finally taking charge of Kenya’s third most successful club fizzled out the air when the brewers brought in Sam Timbe to replace his sacked compatriot George Nsimbe.
Patience is a virtue Baraza excels in and the former Kenyan international defender, who coached Chemelil Sugar to their highest ever league finish in 2016, will bid his time as Tusker assistant head coach while learning from Timbe.
“I took the role of assistant head coach at Tusker all aware that the club is big with bigger ambitions and would probably be hiring good coaches with vast experience and my role is to assist for the good of the team,” said Baraza.
He added: “I welcome Timbe with open arms ready to help him lead Tusker to the title which we surrendered to Gor Mahia last season. Everyone here is excited at his appointment and we are all looking forward to a successful season.”
Baraza oversaw a massive player clear out at Tusker following the tumultuous 2017 campaign that started with mutiny over bungled in-house awards and escalated after the team suffered a 5-2 humiliation at the hands of promoted Nzoia Sugar on the opening day of the season.
Top names including influential midfielder Humphrey Mieno and veteran striker Allan Wanga parted ways with Tusker during the clear-cut as Baraza embarked on recruiting new faces.
The club made it clear they were shopping for a new head coach with Baraza among the potential candidates, only for Timbe to get the job, confining the former to an assistant role.
Assistant coach just like technical directors in Kenyan football circles are often a stepping stone to head coach positions. Occupants of the posts often work to undermine the coach, sometimes sabotaging the team in vicious schemes to ascend to the pinnacle.
Rarely do you find patient assistants but Baraza is happy to learn in the shadows. “I’ve been head coach elsewhere and performed well but now I’m here and I can equally work,” said Baraza.