Image courtesy of The Standard
For fear of being called pessimistic, I am not surprised by our national team struggling at the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Jinja and Kampala. As much as we would love to say we are currently the best ranked team in the region (at 65th place) the going has been rough against the teams considered to be the toughest outside of the hosts, Uganda (ranked 71st on the FIFA rankings).
Zambia(72nd) and Sudan (93rd) are clearly not teams to be underestimated given their pedigree and also prior experiences in the region.
The Kenyan team didn't quite get prepared for the tournament and I pity one Francis Kimanzi who had to wait for the Kenyan officials who can't agree on who's to run what to appoint him. There was also the Christmas break which didn't do much justice. As if not enough, the officials took their 'domez' across the border and some had to sent away by CECAFA Secretary-Kenyan Nick Musonye- if I was to be queried both FKL's and KFF officials' ought not to have been allowed there.
With the remaining fixtures looking relatively easy, Kenya might just make it into the semi-finals and may just scratch a result into the final. It will be interesting to see how Kimanzi manages and inspires his charges for the first time in a tournament setting.
The Kenyan officials-whoever is running the Harambee Stars ship- might look into inviting a few of the countries after the tournament and also use this as a good build-up for the coming Africa Cup of Nations/World Cup qualifiers.
It seems the Ugandans are not such football fans after all. The low numbers experienced in the stadiums is not good for future football events to be hosted in the country. The timing also may have played a part since most people may have decided to leave for their homes for the festivities. Explains why they should host it between the 1st and 2nd weeks of December.
I guess the English Premiership has gained a foothold like it has for most African nations. Can we at least support our national teams if we are not really inspired by the club sides yet ?