Monday, March 9, 2009

Hey: Kenya Can Get to 2010 World Cup

We've often chronicled the ups and downs of Kenyan football.
Now, with new coach Antoine Hey in place, Kenya is not only looking for on and off-field stability but a place in the 2010 World Cup.

Hey thinks he can lead them there.

The final group phase gets underway at the end of March, with Kenya's Harambee Stars hosting Tunisia in a group that also includes Nigeria and Mozambique.

The team that tops the group qualifies for the 2010 World Cup, and the top three will go to the 2010 African Cup of Nations finals.

While a Nations Cup place would seem a realistic target, Hey is thinking big.

"We are six games away from the World Cup. We are about to rewrite history because we are not aiming at anything less," he said.

"We must join the best teams in the world when the World Cup comes to Africa for the first time."

Hey was appointed last month to replace sacked local coach Francis Kimanzi, who guided the Harambee Stars into the final qualifying round.

He was most recently in charge of Liberia, having also had spells with Lesotho and Gambia.

Hey has named a 28-player squad for the Tunisia match that includes the recall of former captain Musa Otieno, a South Africa-based defender who had retired from international competition.

He has also named fellow German Kemal Halat, who was with him in Liberia, as his assistant, and Kenyan, Razak Siwa as goalkeepers' coach.

Kenya's hopes of beating Tunisia, however, suffered a setback after French club AJ Auxerre said striker Dennis Oliech would not be available due to injury.


Tom Legg said...


Thanks for raising the news of Kenya's new coach on your blog, you've given me a excuse to blabber... Personally I would have preferred to see Kimanzi sort out his problems with the FKL and stay in charge, he did wonders with the side last year and deserved a crack at this World Cup qualifying stage.

Although not over the moon with the Hey appointment, I'm prepared to give him a chance. The Harambee Stars have a friendly in Iran this Saturday and, apart from Oliech, we have a full squad to choose from. Im not expecting a win, but a draw would be a impressive result; if of course Hey was looking at impressive me... which he should be doing!

The acid test of course will be his very first competitive game in charge against Tunisia; its not often that a game this early on in a group stage is tagged as "make or break", but this one certainly look like that game for Kenya. Nigeria should qualify as group winners comfortably, with players like; Mikel, Taiwo, Obasi (although out for a month) and Obinna finally being promoted to the senior side they should have no trouble in this group. I will at this stage rule out Mozambique completely (any Mozambican prepared to challenge me on that hypothesis then I'll be glad to joust with them); leaving Kenya or Tunisia to pick up the second place. Tunisia are formidable at home, so the best we can hope for is a draw, leaving the game against them in Nairobi as a must win if Kenya are to upset the odds and qualify above The Eagles of Carthage.

Cesar said...

Great commentary, Tom!
I really hope we can enjoy Kenya playing in South Africa ... when we're there!

Tom Legg said...

Cheers buddy, I would be incoherent with joy if Kenya qualified! If they did, then 'Route 3' would have to be the one we should all take (Tanza, Uganda, Kenya).

Watch out for the Iran game on Saturday, if you don't do a small report on your blog about it I can put one together for you if you like? Just a though.