NAIROBI, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan soccer authorities have decided that French coach Henri Michel will concentrate on preparing Kenya for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers in March while his local assistant James Nandwa takes full charge of the Africa Home Nations Championships (CHAN) campaign.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president, Sam Nyamweya, said the decision to elevate Nandwa who qualified Kenya to the regional CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup was consistent with maintaining the momentum gained in Uganda where Harambee Stars lost 2-1 in the final to the hosts.
"We brought in Michel for the World Cup project and we have seen it wise to let Nandwa handle the team that will travel to Bujumbura to play Burundi on Saturday."
"He has a good understanding with local players that we do not want to lose at this time and this is a reward for the good job he did in Uganda where Kenya won four matches in a row for the first time in years," Nyamweya said on Tuesday night.
The federation chief denied reports there was a rift between them and the Frenchman who has led Cameroon, Morocco, Tunisia and Cote d'Ivoire to the World Cup.
"These reports have nothing in them. I wish to clarify that Michel's experience is needed here and we intend to have stability in our technical bench to ensure the gains we have made do not get lost," he asserted.
However, the increasing marginalisation of Michel who was hired on a one year contract in September from the national side has been read as pointer to his looming exit from the post after taking charge for only two friendly games Kenya losts against South Africa and Tanzania.
Nyamweya himself hinted as much when he remarked, "Our local coaches are good enough only that they tend to improve when there is foreign competition."
The Frenchman has not been at the team's training camp on Monday having spent two weeks preparing the CHAN side with Nandwa naming the travelling party to Bujumbura on Monday.
He included five players that featured in Kenya's run to the CECAFA finals as Kenya prepares for the first leg against Burundi on Sunday.
"In bringing Nandwa to continue with the team, I have acted on the goodwill from the public for what he did in Kampala where we were lucky not to win against a better Ugandan team. The spirit from that tournament is what we want to carry forward," Nyamweya stressed.
Kenya are due to face Nigeria in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers away where defeat or draw will effectively end their interest in the competition having drawn their opening match at home to Malawi before losing 1-0 to Namibia in Windhoek in their second match.