Two years down the line with 20 games under his belt, Stanley Okumbi has finally been relieved of his duties at Harambee Stars.
The long-time federation boss Nick Mwendwa’s friend, however, got a soft landing as he was redeployed to the National Under-20 team. Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is expected to name a new coach on Sunday with two friendlies lined up in May as final preparations for a crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at home to continental bigwigs Ghana.
The former Mathare United and Kariobangi Sharks coach endured severe criticism during his tenure and leaves a polarised fan base and a trail of bad results in his wake.
During his 20 games in charge of Kenya’s national team, his statistics are so damning that the federation decided to dispense of him even before he returned from Morocco.
He had a paltry five victories to show for his time at Harambee Stars, four of which came in friendly matches against Democratic Republic of Congo home and away, Mozambique and Liberia at Kasarani.
The two-year erratic tenure yielded just one victory in a competitive match, a 2-1 home win over Congo in the botched 2017 Acon qualifiers.
Kenya lost nine times under his tenure but the straw that broke the camel’s back came in the latest FIFA week when Stars drew two-all with lowly ranked Comoros then lost 3-2 to war-torn Central Africa Republic.
A significant fall in FIFA ranking is expected at the end of the month following the loss and draw to lower ranked teams. The sacked coach’s frailties ranged from plain mistakes in squad selection and fielding to inexplicable happenings around him.
He assembled a mixed squad of professional players and a pool of locally-based individuals who largely played no part in the two fixtures.
The most glaringly was the omission of a natural right back from the 24-man entourage to Morocco, where both friendly matches were played.
Kenya ended up deploying Spain-based midfielder Ismael Gonzalez in that position but the Fuenlabrada player, who had performed well against Comoros, struggled in the second game.
A few weeks before taking over the national team job, Okumbi briefly threw in the towel as Mathare United head coach citing disrespect from his players.
The tactician is said to have struggled to get respect in the national team and therefore did not fully exert control. Skipper Victor Wanyama played just the first game then flew back to England where his club Tottenham Hotspurs needed him more, a precedence that leaves plenty of questions about his reign.
The frustrated fan base is waiting for the federation’s next move regarding the national team head coach role but experienced Dutchman Ruud Kroll’s name has featured severally as a potential catch.