Coach Sebastien Migne and the agency he is signed to, One Goal Agency, have been working behind the scenes to advance their course at the expense of the most loved Kenyan team, the Harambee Stars, Kahawa Tungu can reveal.
To start with, One Goal Agency, whose CEO is one Joe Kamga arranged the team’s camp in France in the lead up to the recently ended Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Kenya, for the umpteenth time, failed to go past the group stage after affording just a single win against Tanzania and two losses versus finalists Senegal and Algeria despite the government spending handsomely to prepare them.
The agency also brokered a kitting deal for the national team with Italian kit maker Macron just before the continental showpiece for Ksh 8million, according to a close source, which did not want to be mentioned.
The government through the ministry of sports had pumped in Ksh 244 million to ensure Harambee Stars got the best possible preparations for Africa’s biggest football gathering. This money is yet to be fully accounted for except for bonuses which were paid to the players.
Even after landing the deals with the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), One Goal Agency through Kamga were not done yet and worked tirelessly to influence the team selection.
Merit was discarded as players like veteran striker Allan Wanga of Kakamega Homeboyz, who scored 17 goals in the Kenyan Premier League last season and Zesco United’s experienced utility player Anthony Akumu was dropped for players Kamga was reportedly planning to sell after the AFCON.
Akumu’s teammate in Zambia, David Owino, was lucky to make the cut, taking the place of injured Brian Mandela, who plays in South Africa, otherwise, Migne had said he doesn’t rate the Zambia league.
A late call up to the team that represented Kenya in the 32nd edition of the AFCON, John Avire has since signed for newly promoted Egyptian Premier League side Tanta FC. Avire’s transfer led to stepping down of the FKF CEO Robert Muthomi, who was accused by Sofapaka of illegally influencing the move. Muthomi is up for ethics investigations.
Kamga was given free access to the Harambee Stars hotel in Cairo where he moved from room to room – trying to sign players to his agency including senior players some who outrightly turned him down, our source revealed. He, however, managed to sign a Gor Mahia defender.
This trend is similar in Uganda where their AFCON coach Sebastien Desabre, also signed to One Goal Agency, has so far signed Uganda Cranes winger Abdu Lumala for his new Egyptian Premier League club Pyramids FC. A number of the Cranes have trooped to Egypt after the AFCON – including midfielder Khalid Aucho and striker Emmanuel Okwi.
The skewed team selection and fielding brought disunity within the Harambee Stars camp in Egypt with Migne losing the dressing room. The media was kept at bay with one Kenyan photojournalist, who tried to access the team’s hotel in Cairo being rudely sent away.
Players were also unhappy with Migne’s training regime which many attributed to countless injuries which afflicted the team including that of Mandela, Joash Onyango, and Dennis Odhiambo. Some players have hinted at snubbing call ups to the national team in the future if he continues to be the head coach, while others are believed to have actually made good the threat – declining to play in the recent 2020 CHAN qualifiers against Tanzania when they were very much available and eligible to feature.
After losing to Tanzania through penalties in the qualifiers on Sunday, Migne made it known that it would cost the FKF dearly to fire him as they will need to buy out the remainder of his three year-contract for up to Ksh 48million.
The football body is now trying to convince the sports ministry to help them get rid of the coach amicably by offering him an affordable exit package, according to a source. Two past Harambee Stars coaches, Aden Amrouche and Bobby Williamson, sued the federation over wrongful termination and want compensation.