Kenya approaches the second leg of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations first round qualifications desperate to avoid elimination more than ever. It might not seem so going into this game with a 1-0 advantage, however the margin’s minimal.
Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee- the man largely responsible for Kenya’s last exploits at the continental stage – is no longer in charge of the Harambee Stars (he is however at a higher level), with Algerian Adel Amrouche now in the hot seat.
However, will the 46 year old be able to succeed where a decuple of other coaches have failed?
Unlike his predecessor (forget Nandwa), Henri, a widely travelled man- Amrouche’s mileage all over Africa isn’t anything to talk about but something to admire over the little span of time. Yet, the respect the squad Henri commanded was outweighed by egos of certain individuals.
The decision to omit Dennis Oliech (ahead of Comoros) for something the media has well documented as ‘unprofessional and disrespectful’ has been coming some time now, bad for him it’s come at another critical time.
For starts, let’s applaud Amrouche for trying to construct a squad in his own image, without having to sacrifice too much in the way of quality. This move goes a long way in rubber stamping his ambition to have a team modelled in the mentality of his own- with more of interest in collective success rather than that of individual without showing a dislike the latter.
Basically in Amrouche’s world skewing on matters progress- when it comes to the National team, the world has only one time zone- Harambee Stars GMT.
Dennis being the oldest member of the squad however must learn this in haste.
….if one does not come for training, he simply can’t play it doesn’t matter who you are and it’s not because you have a name, all the players are also good.
It therefore must be this reason why, while in the past a player in the model of Wanyama and Mariga would have bullied their way into being the ‘head of the pack’, they now just act the pack. The former holds the arm band even as the injury concerns of the latter seem to have perfectly played into Amrouche’s hands considering the growing tension that once was present between Mariga and Oliech.
When he planned on pulling out Oliech with the Harambee Stars on the edge of a memorable 1-0 win in Calabar, many of us thought “What the hell is this man up to.”
Sent off to the stands and a right decision made at the horrible time by his assistant saw Nigeria equalize. Satisfied by the result and discontent at the referee; Amrouche had just sowed the seeds of discrete decision-making going into the future.
Months have since passed and the realisation that Amrouche is not going to be toyed around with has brought results in good measure. A CECAFA trophy to his name, Amrouche doesn’t look like someone satisfied with just that, forgive his employers who are certainly not his cash bank like expected. (don’t worry how he makes his money)
With the dropping of Oliech amongst other firm stances Amrouche has made in the past (all which we don’t agree with), it’s absolutely possible to see why failure to qualify for the 2015 AFCON will see him labelled in the same light as his predecessors. The absolute turn however is- a qualification means, the man with the toughest job under horrendous circumstances certainly becomes the hero.
And that’s the shame in being Amrouche at this moment in time.
“Many distractions are avoided by living a simple life.” Herm Edwards one of NFL’s most successful cornerbacks, coaches and man behind ‘The Miracle of the Meadowlands’ noted in one of his many ESPN FC analysis, Amrouche certainly either in ignorance or arrogance must have been a good student of him.
Image credits, www.goal.com