Its Coach Kirtsen
Kenyan cricket's worst kept secret was all but confirmed yesterday when the Cricket Kenya Executive endorsed Andy Kirsten as the new coach for Kenya's national team. While the appointment is yet to be made official, yesterday's meeting all but confirmed that the South African will return to Kenya to take over from caretaker coach Alfred Njuguna who has been coaching the team since the departure of Roger Harper after the 20-20 World Cup.
Kirsten is no stranger to Kenyan cricket having assisted Sandip Patil during Kenya's dream World Cup run in 2003 and his return will be welcomed by the players that remain from that team. Kirsten was reputed to be behind much of the success of that coaching partnership and even before the decision was announced was a popular choice among the senior members of the squad.
Kirsten's contract is expected to run from mid April, if he is available to start by then, through to the World Cup qualifiers in the UAE in 2009. According to Cricket Kenya, his main priority will be to ensure Kenya qualify for the 2011 World Cup. It is expected that Alfred Njuguna and Martin Suji, who have done a wonderful job in the interim since Roger Harper left, will both be kept on the coaching staff. Sources at Cricket Kenya indicate that one of them will be retained as Kirsten's assistant, while the other is likely to be given the role of Development Manager. With Cricket Kenya looking to really focus on development in the next 12 months, it is likely that this role will go the more experienced Njuguna with Suji working under Kirsten.