Harambee Stars head coach Paul Put has called it quits, three months after taking over last November. The Belgian, who was unveiled on November 18, was tasked with guiding the national team in the CECAFA Senior Challenge, which he won and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers but has left his post before leading Kenya to any international match.
A communiqué from the Football Kenya Federation sent to newsrooms yesterday stated that Put resigned citing personal reasons. In light of the development, FKF has appointed Stanley Okumbi to take charge of the national team in an interim period as they find Put’s replacement.
Put’s resignation comes just 12 days after he called for the complete overhaul of the national team technical bench ahead of the country’s Group B Afcon qualifier at home to Ghana in September.
That was seen as a move by the Belgian tactician to have his own men on the bench while edging out his assistants Okumbi and John Kamau whom he said lacked the experience of managing at the top level which was a stumbling block to Kenya’s ambitions of qualifying for next year’s Afocn.
Put had further revealed that he had recommended his preferred names to FKF for appointment but did not mind retaining Okumbi and Kamau to learn from his proposed experts.
However, FKF remained silent on the matter and reports indicate that Put’s demands might not have reached the Sports Ministry considering the government is at the time paying the technical bench’s salaries following the exit of sponsors SportPesa.
While responding to the coach’s demands, Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia indicated they were yet to receive the proposal from FKF but said the government was ready to support. “We are ready to support the national team. We will do this not just in terms of money but providing all the necessary resources for them to compete at the same level with other countries.
If it takes having a new technical bench, we will do it,” said Kaberia. Put’s exit came at a crucial time when Stars are expected to play two international friendly matches in March, one confirmed against Cameroon.
The Belgian was also pushing for another match against Mali, Burkina Faso or Nigeria, having called on the federation to utilise the May break as teams prepare for the World Cup to play more matches in readiness for the Afcon qualifiers.