When 65 year-old, experienced and widely traveled French man Henri Michel was unveiled as the man to midwife Harambee Stars’ growth from near obscurity four months ago on August 28, 2012, at City Hotel amid pomp and colour, the country held its breadth for a moment.
The populace and the Kenyan soccer world were hopeful that he was the long awaited ‘messiah’ that would pull Kenyan out of decades of slumber.
But that was just that! Fast forward to today and barely 120 days into the positing that came with fat pay perks, the man born in Aix en Provence valley in France is no more.
Apparently Michel has jumped onto the next flight home to catch up perhaps with the world famed sweet French wine he had long missed during his four month rocky and turbulent marriage with a hard and sometimes aloof Football Kenya Federation(FKF).
For starters Michel is an experienced coach who has coached several Africa power houses, a dozen of clubs in his native France including the current money bags Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and the Le Blues (French national team).
However, his record in Africa had never shone. He had preferred short time contracts that would never give success time to breed.
With a monthly salary amounting to Sh4 million a month including the Sh1.5 million for his two deputies, Michel reaped big where he did not sow bearing in mind; he did virtually nothing worth mentioning in his short stint.
Though he has cited gross contract breach, where FKF could be guilty as charged if the French man’s versions is to be believed, Michel's professionalism was also found wanting.
In the two competitive friendly matches he took charge, he led Stars to defeats, a 1-2 at home to South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and 1-0 away to Tanzania’s Taifa Stars.
In a sheer bravado, he gave the Cecafa tournament a contempt card terming it ‘useless’ and stayed away from the African Champions qualifiers (CHAN) match against Burundi.
Michel on Monday in a statement sent by the French mission in Nairobi said. “I decided to stop working with the Kenyan FA by registered letter dated 10-12-2012. From today (Monday), I will not disclose more on this matter, if not by available legal means. That notwithstanding, I wish Kenyan football the greatest success.”
But Kenya FA President Sam Nyamweya has a different version insisting that the Frenchman had absconded duty. “As it stands Michel has absconded duty. He refused to take the team to Cecafa and Burundi for the Chan qualifier and remember he his head coach. That means he refused to work.”
The dust will take time to settle, but history books will have it that Michel is another foreign tactician who failed to deliver on Kenyan soil.