Football Kenya Limited (FKL) has disbanded the inglorious Kenya Under-23 team and relieved their coach Bob Oyugi of his duties. This follows Kenya’s humiliating 4-1 loss to soccer star Eritrea in an All Africa Games first round, first leg qualifier in Asmara on Sunday.
“We are replacing the coach and forming a new team,” FKL technical director chairman, Hussein Swaleh, said yesterday. “Our best players in this age category were not used. I do not understand why the coach did not use these players,” Swaleh said.
An unfamiliar Kenya Under-23 team, exclusively featuring academy players drawn mainly from the National Youth Talent Academy were picked by Oyugi for the important assignment.
No player from the KPL nor Harambee Stars capped players eligible to play under-23 football like Kevin Omondi, Collins Okoth and Abdullatif Omar were included in the team.
Prior to departing to Asmara a confident Oyugi had said these to the The Nation: “We prefer to do things quietly and have been preparing for a long time away from the eyes of the press and the public. These players have enough exposure and talent to get results in Eritrea.”
When asked about the curious absence of players from Kenya’s top league Oyugi responded: “I prefer to work with players for at least two to three weeks. KPL clubs wanted to give me their eligible players for just two to three days. That was unacceptable to me. I do not work that way. These players are better than many in the KPL.”
But despite Oyugi’s bravery, the inexperienced team, clearly a third rate Kenya side, came unstuck in Eritrea. Swaleh said due to financial and administrative constraints FKL had decided to partner with Unicef and NYTA to form an under-23 side.