Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Beyond 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, what next for Kenyan football?

Unless you were truly optimistic, Kenya's non-qualification to the 2012 Africa of Nations did not come as a suprise. Even after last minute efforts by local football enthusiasts and political leaders offering  this and that package, Harambee Stars couldn't push themselves to the final dash. So what next ?
Harambee Stars badge - from CafePress.com

1. Football Elections - after the Kenyan electoral body IIEC came into agreement with Interim Election Board to conduct nationwide elections, this is the best shot to formally put Kenyan football structures back on the rails. Though it will be a heart-wrenching, tough act but as they say, 'no pain, no gain'. Let's hope for fairly free and transparent process and no court actions by those who won't make it after the ballot is done.

2. Fully dedicated technical team - in the last 2-3 years, there have been so many changes on the technical bench though the last one year has been more stable. But that stability has been fickle too since the head coach Zedekiah Otieno has been shuttling between club and national assignments. A last minute decision to include former international Musa Otieno seemed to help put some stability there. With a competent Management Board, the handlers SHOULD NOW recruit a substantive and full-time tactician. It is not a very demanding job as one Jose Mourinho would say but the role of constantly reviewing individual players and cobbling together a team every other month.

3. Sponsorship - There is a Management Board mandated to 'sell the national team and seek corporate support' among other things. Looking at the financial affairs of the national team, it is a disgrace by the current football administrators. From shirt sponsorship, to kit sponsors; training clinics, sale of media rights, international friendlies, there are areas of expanding revenue streams that NEED WORKING ON. Hoping a new and able team comes into office end of October, these are important things to note. Which brand kits our national team? No idea? I guessed so...

4. Stadium Management - though there is a Stadia Management Board, it would be important to have one of the national team's own sitting in this Board. Why do you ask? Because as you would know we have very few venues that can host a national or international fixture worth noting. Even worse is the fact that our best bets at Kasarani and Nyayo stadiums are both under FIFA's ban for hosting games because of security and logistical issues. Sort this out soonest or else we shall be playing 'home games' in our neighbours' stadia (at OUR COST of course!)

5.League versus National fixtures - in the last 2 weeks we heard the national coach loudly vent his displeasure of why crucial Kenya Premier League games ought to be too close to an international game. It would be fair for both parties to synchronise their calendars to avoid such scenarios. Next year will be an more demanding one with the change of Africa Cup of Nations from even years to odd years( 2013) and 2014 World Cup qualifiers. We have CECAFA Cup coming up in Uganda by the end of November, let's hope there's no clash occasioned.

With these issues addressed, we shall be confident of putting our support fully for the national team as it represents our cause in the football and indeed in the sporting world. It is about time we got back our game...


The Football Don said...

Good article, incisively put.
‘’the handlers should now recruit a substantive and full-time tactician.’’ I greatly concur on that one.Professionalism in managing Kenyan football is ,without doubt, urgently required.
On the club level, the performance is improving, albeit slowly - a reason that has somehow compelled and propelled me to dedicate some of my finer times to pasting my rambling reflections at theuppost.com - and it is, actually, at the national level that a good and experienced coach is required ,one with the right formulation to manage the Stars.
Zico hasn’t done badly either, considering working under ‘’duress’’ - if you consider shuttling between the club and national job as that - but my perception of Zico is more of as a morale guy than a coach, because, if you put into consideration the kind of formulations he had to employ in the qualifying stages of the African Cup of Nations’ qualifiers, there was evidently some defect to his strategies.
Hopefully, let’s hope the elections prove to have a positive bearing to the grander scheme of developing and improving our football.

SportsKenya said...

Thanks for the comment. I concur with you on the Zedekiah 'Zico' Otieno has handled it fairly well but times for experimenting are over. We can't keep coming close yet so far.
And now with FIFA's reprieve for international games at our venues, we need to get maximum points and that has to be with a substantive technical team.