South African Andy Kirsten has been appointed as Kenya's coach until the World Cup qualifiers in 2009, Cricket Kenya officials said on Monday. Kirsten, who assisted Sandeep Patil during the 2003 World Cup when Kenya were semi-finalists, is expected to take charge in April.

"We have agreed terms with Kirsten," Samir Inamdar, Cricket Kenya's chairman, told AFP. "The only thing we are awaiting is his confirmation that he would start work by mid-April."

Kirsten, who played 11 first-class matches for Western Province in the late 1980s, will replace Roger Harper, who didn't renew his two-year contract last September because of family commitments. Kirsten, who is the half-brother of former South African batsman Gary Kirsten, was shortlisted for the post in 2006 but withdrew because of other commitments.

Steve Tikolo, the Kenya captain, had already voiced his approval of Kirsten's coaching abilities. "It would be the best thing to happen for Kenya," he told the Daily Nation. "He improved our fielding and what we did in the World Cup is there for all to see."

Inamdar said Kirsten's job was to ensure Kenya qualifies for the 2011 Cricket World Cup in the subcontinent. It is the first time since 1999 that Kenya will have to go through the qualifiers after earning automatic berths to the 2003 and 2007 competitions.