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The World of Afro Sports


           Mohammed Kheri Gets Stars' Job
The Kenya Football Federation has named Mohammed Kheri as the new Harambee Stars coach. He takes over from Twahir Muhiddin who was sacked together with the entire technical bench by the federation because of poor performance.
KFF chairman Alfred Sambu said Kheri's appointment was immediate and his first assignment will be to prepare Harambee Stars for the up coming World Cup/African Nations Cup qualifier against Botswana in March 26. Mohammed Kheri talks to journalists after arriving back home from an international match during his 1990s stint with the national soccer team, Harambee Stars. He will be assisted by Sammy Nyongesa and Allan Thigo who replace Rishadi Shedu and John "Bobby" Ogolla. Elly Adero was named the new team manager taking over from Aggrey Lukoye. Sambu also named a five-man technical panel that has been charged with the responsibility of scouting countrywide for talent for Harambee Stars. The panel comprises Bob Oyugi, Joe Oyando, William Nyongesa, Fred Siranga and Ricky Solomon. The technical bench and the panel are expected to name a side that will begin training for the World Cup qualifying tie.
"We needed a replacement quickly. But we need a long term solution to developing football in this country," Sambu said adding that the appointments were indefinite. Kheri will be making his second appearance as Harambee Stars coach. He was plucked from KPA in 1988 and given the responsibility of guiding Harambee Stars to the 1990 African Nation's Cup finals in Algeria. He did that with a record of two wins, one draw and one loss. At the finals he held Senegal 0-0 and lost 0-1 to Zambia and 0-2 to Cameroon. He was replaced by Gerry Saurer and returned to coaching KPA after that.
Kheri's last coaching job was at Premiership club Coast Stars (now Dubai Bank) last year. Thigo is better known as a magical midfielder for Kenya and Gor Mahia than as a coach. His management duties have included Gor Mahia in the 1970s, Re-Union in the 1980s and Muhoroni Sugar in the 1990s. "It is going to be a hard job. "We need a good set-up to succeed. We also need technical assistance from such countries as Germany, Holland and England," Thigo said. The KFF national executive picked on the new technical bench after consultations with former coaches. Initially, Kheri, Thigo and James Siang'a had made the penultimate cut before the final decision was made in favour of Kheri.
Some 19 coaches attended the meeting including Oyugi, Thigo, Joe Oyando, Adero, Patrick Naggi, Elijah Onsika, Joe Kadenge and Robert Matano. "I called on many stakeholders for discussions on how to make changes to Harambee Stars. And what better way than to talk to the coaches," Sambu said. This is the fifth coach in as many years on the Kenya job.  Siang'a was sacked in 2001 for poor performance. His successor, Reinhardt Fabisch was also kicked out in 2002 after publicly praising the Government in its attempt to clean up the federation following corruption accusations. Jacob Mulee took over only to resign last year following criticism about his coaching and a loss to lowly Botswana in a World Cup fixture.

                         Charles Nyende, The Nation

 Rural-Based Athletes Picked for World Event
Two young athletes from the rural areas - Varaidzo Shindi and Elmore Sibanda - have been given a once-in-a-lifetime chance of representing Zimbabwe at the World Cross-country Championships in France next month.
Shindi, who hails from Zaka in Masvingo Province, and Sibanda of Silobela in the Midlands, were yesterday named in a six-member Zimbabwe team that will represent the country at this year's championships in Le Mans, France, on March 19-20 The two promising athletes will be joined in the Zimbabwe team by seasoned campaigners Lewis Masunda and Samukeliso Moyo. Up-and-coming middle-distance runner, Kelvin Pangiso, of Harare's Millennium Academy and Sharon Tawengwa are also part of the team that was released by the president of the National Athletic Association of Zimbabwe, Joseph Mungwari. Mungwari said Shindi and Sibanda were picked for the world event after winning the junior women and men's races respectively at the inter-provincial championships on February 19 at the Allan Lowry Golf Club in Redcliff. Shindi won the 6km junior women's race in 23 minutes 38 seconds while Sibanda emerged triumphant in the 8km junior men's event in 27 minutes 33 seconds to book their tickets to France. Pangiso also made it into the team for the World Cross-country Championships after winning the 12km senior men's race at the inter-provincial championships in 40 minutes 08 seconds.
He was emulated by Tawengwa, who won the 8km senior women's race in 32 minutes 01 seconds, to earn herself a ticket to represent Zimbabwe in France. Mungwari said Masunda and Moyo also made it into the Zimbabwe team for the championships on the strength of their outstanding performances at the Southern Region Cross-country Championships in Mauritius. At that meet, Masunda emerged as the best cross-country runner in the Southern African region by winning the 12km senior men's race in 32 minutes 08 seconds. Masunda beat a quality field from seven other countries from the Sadc region. Moyo also did well in the 8km senior women's race at the same event in which she settled for second place in 30.55 minutes. I think we've assembled a strong team which is quite capable of holding its own at this year's World Cross-country Championships in France. "It's a mixture of youth and experience and the inclusion of young athletes, Varaidzo Shindi and Elmore Sibanda, will give them the much-needed international exposure," said Mungwari. He added that Cuthbert Nyasango would be the non-travelling reserve.
However, Mungwari said Shindi and Sibanda might not realize their dreams of carrying the country's flag in France as his association was still battling to raise US$9 000 that is needed to send the team to the championships. "We need about US$9 000 to send the whole team to France and we don't have that kind of money at the moment. So, we are appealing to well-wishers to bail us out," Mungwari said.

             Colin Matiza - The Herald