Sofapaka FC Coach Salim Ali has urged Harambee Stars fans to keep the faith with Francis Kimanzi and show patience in him ahead of the forthcoming qualifiers.
The Stars were held to barren draw in their opening match of the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Malawi on Saturday 2 June, at MISC, Kasarani.
In an exclusive interview futaa.com, the former Stars deputy coach said that the national team is in transition period and Kimanzi needs time for him to build a formidable squad.
-The only problem is that we didn’t get the win we expected as Kenyans but in football sometimes such things happen; what people expect doesn’t happen.
-In my view, the performance was not bad. I know by the time they travel to Windhoek, the team will be in cohesion and they can get an away win.
-In 2008, he (Kimanzi) got time to build a team and they managed to register positive results.
-As a coach you are always happy when your players create scoring chances. For Stars, they created chances and I know that’s one step for Kimanzi; the next thing is to score goals.
-I know Kenyans are hungry to win but we need to give Kimanzi time and respect; may be one of his plans is to build a team first. At the moment, he’s not got the national players, by that I mean a squad of 25-30 not 40 or 50, he said.
On build-up matches
Asked whether it’s good for the team to honour the qualifier without playing a single friendly match, the soft speaking Salim, said it depends with the availability of the foreign-based players but also insisted that it’s the work of Football Kenya Federation (FKF) to organize them; not the coach.
-Friendly matches are important but they depend on availability of the players. Going by Stars, most of the professional players were not a round and they are the same players to be used in the match.
-In addition to that, the international friendly matches should be during the FIFA week for a Coach to have all the professional players at his disposal. It’s also very tricky and depends on how it’s planned.
-Unlike Kenya, Malawi had all its foreign based players during the friendly matches. Therefore, FKF should also try and organize them because that’s not the work of the Coach.
-We’ve to copy a leaf from Malawi and Uganda because their coaches have been given enough time to build a team and as you can see the results speak for themselves, said Ali.
Kenya will be travelling to Windhoek over the weekend for the second World Cup qualifier against Namibia before facing Togo in a return-leg of the 2013 AFCON qualifier.