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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Why it is the wrong time to fire Kenya coach Sebastien Migne

16:16 GMT+3 03/07/2019
Sebastien Migne of Harambee Stars and Kenya.
Despite the Harambee Stars’ exit in Egypt, the French coach has already proved he can help build a strong team for the future

There have been some calls from certain quarters to have Kenya coach Sebastien Migne fired following some unimpressive performances by the Harambee Stars at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

To be fair to those making such calls, they have every right to do so for a coach is judged by his performance. This especially after the government poured in more than Sh230million to help the team prepare adequately for the competition held in Egypt.

Kenya started their Afcon campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Algeria, but they recovered to beat Tanzania 3-2 before Senegal thrashed them 3-0.

However, before you get ahead of yourself, let us cut Migne some slack.

     Migne helped Kenya reach Afcon in the first attempt.

When the Frenchman was hired more than one year ago, his mandate was to qualify the team for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

He did it two years early by helping Kenya qualify for the 2019 edition. Migne took over a team which had almost given up on qualifying after going down 2-1 to Sierra Leone in their first match.

His first competitive match ended in a 1-0 win against Ghana in Nairobi and it is a result which turned around the team's fortunes, as they went on to pick up a win and a draw against Ethiopia. 

Throughout the campaign, Migne has shown great belief in home-based players, something which was unheard of with previous foreign and even local coaches.

    Migne when he was unveiled by FKF.

Because of Migne, the likes of Philemon Otieno, Dennis Odhiambo, and Francis Kahata were always assured of a starting place in the squad, proving the Frenchman's ability to build a team.

The fact he gave unknown Sofapaka striker John Avire an opportunity to play in the Afcon finals, also attests to his ability for forward thinking. Under Migne, the youthful Eric Ouma has won a place in the backline.

Clearly, the Frenchman has proved he still has a lot to offer and for continuity, he needs to be given time to build a solid team which will not only qualify for the 2021 edition but also put up better performances in future assignments.

We must not forget the fact Uganda were also edged out of the first round in the 2017 Afcon, the first time they qualified after a long absence. 

     Kenya finished third in Group C.

This time around, Uganda made it to the Round of 16 and it goes on to prove the Harambee Stars can also improve in 2021 if we maintain continuity in the team.

Some have unfairly criticised Migne's team selection but he was proven right when David Owino - after a section of fans were crying for his inclusion in the starting XI - did not perform against Tanzania.

It would also be costly to get rid of Migne now. Lest we forget Football Kenya Federation (FKF) are currently embroiled in expensive litigation with two former coaches - Adel Amrouche and Bobby Williamson. The two coaches are likely to be paid millions of shillings for unfair termination of their contracts.

The FKF can ill-afford another huge pay-out and the money should be invested in other aspects of the game.

Let Migne stay!