07 Jun, 16:33
As the dew got overpowered by sun rays, the sky seemed clear for a while before some clusters of nimbus clouds started recollecting, making the much expected sunny day look chilly.
This was Wednesday morning, when everyone was expecting the Harambee Stars to meet face to face with Nigerians. I had much expectation that our boys will deliver, given the much publicized support they received and also the incentives lined up. President Uhuru Kenyatta was waiting to deliver his whooping three million shillings, with Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko on record promising the boys an extra million. That was not enough though as more well-wishers lined up to offer incentives.
I am an ardent fan of the Harambee Stars and I do attend almost all the matches played here in Nairobi and this day was not exception. The much awaited encounter was finally here. Our boys as usual had some jigs here and there as fans streamed in the stadium in their hundreds, adorned in red and white jerseys to signify the great day. The talk in town was ‘’Nigerians should know people’’. I even had the guts to believe Harambee Stars will not just win but convincingly!
As usual, the match was on and this time it was 90 minutes that was going to separate boys from men. The match started on a low note with Harambee Stars kicking off at their usual slow pace. It was no doubt that for the 15 minutes of the game; The Stars were not showing what they are made of. They rarely attacked, giving much room to the Nigerians to display their ‘’western type of football.’’ At the end of the game, it was just that slim loss (0-1) we have been accustomed to. Three points gone, dimming our hopes of qualifying for the second round.
Many have been vocal for years that the Football Kenya Federation is failing Kenyans as they have failed to invest in young talent. Harambee Stars are getting a raw deal when it comes to preparation. Most of the teams that are lined up for friendlies are that are lowly ranked by FIFA with no any exposure to the big teams. To inform FKF what to do is a chorus which has been mimed for long. It is high time the Federation came up with strategies that will enable our team to excel. Fans are getting disillusioned whenever Harambee Stars are playing. The question which FKF should be in a position to answer to millions of Kenyans is why they have not been able to tap talent that will be able to act as a stock whenever our perennial players are ageing. From the match, you could tell Kenya is lacking players of substance especially when it comes to the striking department and midfield. I don’t want to remind FKF their duties unless they don’t know why they are there in the first place.
My congratulatory message should go to the players for proving they can sometimes showcase their talents especially from the way they played in Calabar a few months ago. But my advice to our players; “There comes a time when the Nation is more important than an individual.” What some of our players showcased at MISC is shocking.There was no dedication. Some of the players displayed delay tactics. The essence of playing a World Cup qualifying match is to win and that can only come through scoring goals. The weight of 40 million people was laid upon you to deliver but when players cannot run, lose ball the easy way and fail to control passes that tells the entire planet that Kenya needs to restructure its policy for the game to take off.
Football remains the most popular sport in Kenya and the world but if some of the players are not proving why they need to wear that jersey, there is no business for playing even for a foreign club (that’s harsh though).
Coach Adel Amrouche has done good job since he came over, but still needs to identify players who are pacy especially on the wings. I don’t see the reason as to why Paul Were who is one of the speediest and most tricky wingers in TPL could not fit the bill. I do believe with support from FKF and government as per say, Amrouche has a bright future if only he identifies players who are ready to die for the country.
To the Kenyans fans, I must give them a big thumbs up. The fans have been through trauma in the name of supporting our team and that is what we call patriotism. Regardless of the results, fans have been instrumental and you can tell from the passion they exhibited during the Kenya vs Nigeria clash. Let’s not give up and accord our team the support they need. With our hopes dashed, there are still other competitions coming so lets embrace the team with one spirit. The day is coming when we shall all be smiling when our very own boys take to the pitch.