Nairobi: For over a decade, Kenyan football has been in the doldrums and 2011 was no different as the country endured a roller-coaster calendar year.

Perceived as a regional powerhouse, Kenya ended their football year with the ignominy of crashing out meekly in the group stages of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup that ended Dec 10.

The shameful exit came against the backdrop of renewed optimism following the election of a new Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the re-appointment of Francis Kimanzi as national team Harambee Stars head coach, a newspaper reported.

If anything, the Tanzania CECAFA tournament won by bitter rivals Uganda showcased Kenya's position in East Africa, let alone the whole continent and the entire world.

'What did you expect?' Kimanzi said when the side made a low-key return. 'We did not have enough time to prepare since our league only ended two days before we travelled and that is where most of my players came from.'

'I carried all the top scorers from our league and none performed. Re-building this team will be a patient process and we have to work on each department at a time,' he added.

Kimanzi, branded in local circles as a miracle worker, led the country to the final round qualifiers of the 2010 World Cup before he was unceremoniously bundled out of his post in Feb 2009.

However, he admitted his magic touch alone is not enough to fix what has been a chronic affliction of the country's football as reflected by the fortunes of their national side.

'Unless we have proper planning, proper structures and nurturing young players, we will continue to miss out on major tournaments. It is my hope that the new office will give the technical bench all the support and time to implement our programmes,' he charged.

Throughout the months preceding the Oct 28 poll date, the electoral process that was managed by the Interim Electoral Board (IEB) had been rocked by delays with the exercise postponed on four separate occasions since December last year when it was first penned.

IEB roped in the Independent Interim Electoral Commission (now Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission) to conduct the exercise that saw Samson Nyamweya, the erstwhile chair of KFF, trouncing his FKL rival Mohammed Hatimy and five others and bagging the top post.

Nyamweya wasted no time to stamp his authority, re-appointing Kimanzi as the national team head coach within a week of election, pledging a new constitution within 90 days, travelling to Zurich to meet FIFA boss, Sepp Blatter and renaming the new governing body FKF among a raft of other measures.

During 2011, Kenya sunk to their lowest FIFA Coca-Cola ranking of 135 in June before latest figures saw the country enjoy a 13-place jump from position 133 to 120 in December.

(Agencies)