Saturday, 11 February 2012

After 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, can Kenya find its place in 2013 ?

As the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations reaches its penultimate stages this weekend, Kenya will be once again ruing its chances of having not qualified for the continent's biggest football showpiece. While much aplomb came towards the end of the qualifiers as the country faced off with its fierce neighbour Uganda, the die had already been cast and not much of a miracle was going to happen anyway.
Football Kenya - image courtesy of  Football Kenya Limited

Well, the first Africa Cup of Nations in an odd year will be back next year hopefully landing at South Africa in less than 20 years. What gives?

a) First the top football body in Kenya finally held elections and new officials have fresh mandate and endorsement from majority of the game's stakeholders. This goodwill ought to be exploited and trickled down to the national team.

b) With the Football Kenya Federation, indicating its willingness to work with the Harambee Stars Management Board, structures ought to be in place to ensure the team has maximum corporate support and technical support to see the team through the qualifiers.

c) Address branding and sponsorship issues as early as possible. In December 2011, a new uniform kit was launched to reflect the country's colours and though not all of us like it, it ought to be more stable than we've had in the past. Full disclosure too ought to be made to avoid situations of missing kits and mismatching uniforms for international fixtures.

d) Technical bench - One major flaw that was made in the last 1 year was having a technical bench which was led by a coach who also managed a top club. Given the demands of both jobs, we could even say he gave it a good shot but well we won't remember missed opportunities. Give the bench their contracts and ensure their pay's on time to avoid Antoine Hey's scenarios and such shenanigans.

e) Stadium facilities - With the biggest stadium in the country coming to completion from repairs, it's about time the national team got used to this venue as the hunting ground for valuable home points. This venue has been a good motivator to the boys maybe its the softer ground or maybe its the 60,000 + fans that would flock it at its maximum...

f)  Club versus country - this problem cropped up during the 2011 season where some clubs felt aggrieved that the national team kept requesting for their players and some usually came back with serious injuries. Case in point is Arnold Origi - one of Kenya's best goal-keepers who's called it quits on the national team due such incidences. The calendar should indicate ample time for players to adjust from club to national team engagements.

g) Government engagement - Its about time the Government became a little more proactive in rallying support for national teams representing the country in any sport. Football a sport for the larger majority is the greatest unifier in this respect. We all saw the vibe it created when Kenya played its last qualification game against Uganda in Kampala last year. We can muster the same support albeit on a continuous basis. Kenyan people, its about time you elected a sports-crazed head of state....

 29th of February is a little over 2 weeks, FKF and all you who ought to make Kenyan football happen, the journey to 2013 Africa Cup of Nations starts NOW!

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