Belgian coach Amrouche appointed new Kenya boss

By Piers EdwardsBBC Sport
Adel Amrouche
Adel Amrouche

Belgian coach Adel Amrouche has been appointed the new coach of the Kenyan national team.

The former Burundi boss signed a contract with Kenyan football authorities on Wednesday, after being chosen ahead of 20 other applicants.

"I am happy to be the coach of Kenya and I'm happy because the federation and I have the same goals," he said.

"I hope Kenya can be one of the best on the continent and that I can help them qualify for major tournaments."

The 44-year-old previously led Burundi between 2007 and 2012, resigning last year in a protest over his working conditions.

Prominent among these was the lack of preparation for big qualifiers, with the Belgian saying that he was seldom given a friendly international to use as a warm-up ahead of crunch clashes.

His immediate task as Kenya coach will be a baptism of fire, as he takes the Harambee Stars to Nigeria for a World Cup qualifier against the African champions.

The Super Eagles, who won the Nations Cup for a third time earlier this month, lead Group F after two rounds with four points, three more than a Kenya side whose solitary point came in a goalless draw at home to Malawi last June.

Despite the fact that the Harambee Stars have never qualified for a World Cup and have been absent from the Nations Cup since 2004, Amrouche sees the chance as a stepping stone to building his career.

"I am here to build and I hope this period will have a positive impact on my career," Amrouche told BBC Sport.

"Maybe the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) did not pick a big name, but I can assure you they have picked a hard worker - someone who can change the face of Kenyan football and is ready to open doors of opportunity for Kenyan footballers everywhere in the world," the naturalised Belgian added at a news conference.

"I have followed Kenyan football for quite some time now and I believe it is time for a new approach for the future so that we can make Kenya one of the big names in the continent and in the world."

The Belgian will have Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama to call upon, with his brother MacDonald Mariga and veteran striker Dennis Oliech also key men for the Kenyan national team.

Amrouche, who starts work immediately, having signed the deal - the length of which is unspecified - replaces Frenchman Henri Michel, who quit late last year.

The former France coach oversaw just two games in charge of Kenya during his brief spell, both of which ended in defeat.

Kenya currently lie in 126th position in the world according to Fifa, with the game's governing body ranking Burundi 11 places higher.

The FKF announced on Tuesday that it intends to bid to host the 2019 Nations Cup finals.