Kenyan FA will for the second time in two months be forced to pay Nandwa to do Michel’s job, and pay Michel to sit and demand for what is rightfully hisMixed reactions greeted the appointment of Frenchman Henri Michel as Kenya national team coach.
Precisely, a majority of the local fanatic proved an exciting lot. Most believed the 65 year-old was the ‘Messiah’ coming to salvage the country's most popular sport.
The excitement extended considering Kenya's performance and results on the regional and continental front had hit an all time low.
However, amidst the celebration and expectation, murmurs and grumbles could be heard from some quarters.
A highly regarded coach who handles a renowned African side is reported to have referred to the grey haired Frenchman as a ‘pensioner’ adding that he didn’t believe anything ‘significant’ will happen during Michel’s tenure.
An immediate former Kenyan FA administrator went one better. He famously posted on his social page - facebook – “this marriage (between Michel and Football Kenya Federation won’t last), wake me up when the dude is gone.”
It is now looking likely that the duo knew something the majority didn’t.
For as at this moment, three months into Michel’s one year contract, controversy and confusion clouds the tactician's whereabouts, intention and game plan for the Kenyan team.
Actually, very few will be surprised it’s announced the bespectacled had fled Kenya to France or wherever, never to return.
Michel has pulled no punches since arriving in Kenya. His first press conference was a classic. Compounded with a challenge as to how he will juggle the 2012 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup tournament and the 2014 African Nations Championships qualifiers – competition’s who participation dates coincided. The Frenchman shot from the hip.
“I believe Cecafa is a useless tournament. I am here to ensure Kenya qualifies for the African Nations Championships. All my focus is on Burundi (Kenya's Chan opponents).
True to his word, the coach - who is rumoured to command the highest ever salary paid to a local coach shunned the Cecafa competition, but selected a squad that U-23 coach James Nandwa took to the annual regional event.
Now with the dates to the Chan qualifiers edging closer, it seems Michel has backtracked on his word. Michel resides in lavish hotels and Suites in Nairobi is nowhere to be seen, three days before Kenya engages Burundi in the first leg match of the competition.
Word has been rife that that coach could be on a go slow seeking to first be paid arrears and allowances before he embarks on his core duties. If true, this is akin to sabotage.
During his tenure, Kenya has played two games - against South African and Tanzania - and lost both, which were friendly duels.
And as the former Ivory Coast and Morroco coach takes a sabbatical, the Kenyan FA will for the second time in two months be forced to pay Nandwa to do Michel’s job, and pay Michel to sit and demand for what is rightfully his.
A spot-check in between history books reveals Michel as someone who either prefers to work on short term contracts or has a challenge engaging in a long term project.
In his 18 year stint outside Europe, the Frenchman has engaged 15 national teams and clubs in Africa and Asia - an average of handling one team each year.
How the tactician’s association with Kenya eventually ends is still subject to intense speculation.