•He said it is very important that the national office keeps tabs on the young strikers to avoid a crisis when the likes of Michael Olunga retires from national team duties.
•Yakhama challenged Kenyan strikers to play for passion when donning the national team colours and wants them to thrive under any system deployed by the coach.
Harambee Stars Under 17 team manager Nick Yakhama wants Football Kenya Federation to closely monitor the progress of strikers at youth level to avoid a gap in future.
He said it is very important that the national office keeps tabs on the young strikers to avoid a crisis when the likes of Michael Olunga retires from national team duties.
Olunga is Kenya’s undisputed first-choice striker and has scored 18 goals in 40 appearances. The Kashiwa Reysol forward made headlines in November last year by scoring eight goals for Reysol in a 13-1 demolition of Kyoto Sanga.
The 26-year-old has perfectly filled the boots left by Dennis Oliech who retired in 2016. Oliech scored 34 in 72 appearances becoming all-time Kenya’s top scorer. Yakhama is of the view that a follow up on junior national team sides to determine the progress of upcoming strikers is important if a vacuum is to be avoided in future. He said schools are a reservoir of talent that the governing body should exploit.
“So far the Nick Mwendwa-led FKF has done a commendable job because we have the national teams of U-13, U-15, U-17 and U-20. This is where players are nurtured and all the athletes must transition through the ranks to be ready for the market. So my call is for the federation to follow up closely the upcoming players in those stages because their potential is unmatched. The norm should be extended to the whole country and schools must be incorporated,” observed the former AFC Leopards coach.
He added: “Olunga has fitted well in Oliech’s shoes and currently, he is in a class of his own. We have forgotten to go back to schools to tap and nurture students with the potential to become future superstars,” the official observed.
Yakhama challenged Kenyan strikers to play for passion when donning the national team colours and wants them to thrive under any system deployed by the coach.
“Gone are the days when we had natural strikers, whose duty was to score goals. The current generation of strikers lack the zeal and the hunger to put the ball at the back of the net. This mentality has to change if we have to work towards a common goal. The system or formations have got nothing to do with scoring goals. A good striker scores under any system provided the ball is near the goal.”