If you have kept up with this blog you know by know that I am (originally) a country girl, who grew up on the farm, with cows, chickens, goats and transistor radio.
We also went to the local Kitale stadium every once in a while with my cousins Mike, Ian and Carol to watch football. Many times AFC leopards and Gor Mahia rocked, but when Harambee Stars came to Kitale, we would have to arrive at the stadium hours earlier, to get good seats at the front of the stadium.
These are memories that get me nostalgic every time the National team plays.
But that was then. In recent years though, the few times I have made my way to Kasarani Staduim and Nyayo stadium to watch them play against other countries, always leaves me with anxiety.
I remember the days of Ghost Mulee, when I had this tugging at my heart that the team would go places. I am a dreamer, I believe so much in people, to a fault. Whenever the stars play I get these goose bumps. Normally, I feel very deeply about performance, any performance. But more still, about a players dreams. In their world, its all about competition, and about winning, so it is in everybody’s world, but imagine playing to loose every single time, what keeps you on the pitch?
It is such thoughts that tug at my heart, because these boys believe in themselves, they have a drive that’s untouchable, yet so very palpable, it’s the kind of hope that can take you places.Yet for Harambee stars, it hasn’t.
There’s leadership, and then there’s leadership, literally, in Kenyan football, and that has failed. Completely. It is way beyond time to rethink a strategy for our National football team.
With the World cup flame dying out, and 2014 around the corner, why not rethink the direction we want Kenyan football to take? If it is a basic right for every Kenyan to have a job, why not create an environment that favours football and create jobs for the talent in this country? We can see that talent through the same lens we view Macdonald Mariga (Intermilan) and Dennis Oliech (Auxerre) Musa Otieno (Sanlam Santos, SA) among others.
Harambee stars first entered Africa Cup of Nations in 1974, they have never made it to the finals, and of course never made it to any world Cup, and have generally been very unsuccessful in International matches. The country (team) has been banned by FIFA more than once, in regards to issues of government interference and other irregularities.
Can that house be put in order?
I think so. I am not the absolute authority on football (what would I know?) but I think it is way beyond time the National team is run like a proper business.
Because it is a business. Management has done a shoddy job at maintaining the National team, where everyone’s hopes now is to be spotted by an international team and be whisked into European bliss, then return home with Chrystlers and Hummers.
For a football crazed country, I think someone should start toying about IPO’ing Harambee Stars. And that of course means a complete change of management and a clear strategy. It is only with public ownership structure and accountability measures that Kenyan football can work.
Being a Kenyan that has watched the stars from way back in the day, I’m more than willing to place my bets on it. I will make the queue and be a shareholder. Then our boys can stop dreaming and start living.