Monday, July 28, 2008


On Sunday the reigning KFF Premier League champions did all Kenyan football fans very proud by reclaiming the once glamorous CECAFA Club Championship after beating the hard fighting Uganda’s URA at the National Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam. That the Ruaraka based ale men finally bagged the regional diadem after repeated failure by Kenyan teams over the last seven years in laudable enough.

Though still smarting from the doubled tragedy of being unfairly denied the opportunity of participating in this year’s CAF Champions League tournament - for reasons not of their own making - and having their coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee being dropped acrimoniously as the national team head coach, Tusker have displayed great depth of their character by bringing the Cup back home where it belongs.

The fact that Ghost’s team was pitted against some of the regional big names including battle hardened home teams Simba and Yanga and still managed to prevail is truly something to take pride in. More startling is the fact that the home boys were on the road for over 12 hours and only arrived in Dar just within a few hours to the kick-off of their first match against Tanzania’s Simba.

It also struck me that coach Ghost Mulee has greatly matured in the game over the years if his inordinately modest and self-effacing attitude is anything to go by. Even in the face of resolute performances against some of the tournament’s big boys, Ghost resisted the overwhelming and self-destructive temptation of writing off the opposition, insisting that he was only going to celebrate after the job had been done.

Needless to say, this victory certainly evokes the fond memories of the year 2001 when the Harambee Stars, then still under the guidance of Ghost, annihilated the Kilimanjaro Stars 3-2 at the same venue to lift the coveted East and Central Senior Challenge Cup after a long wait of 18 years. Of course, many will fondly recall that it is in the same tournament that local crowd darling Dennis Oliech announced his arrival on the big stage of international football. Oh, what sweet memories!

Coming at a time when the Harambee Stars are on the rise too, Tusker’s success gives us more reason to be upbeat about the present state of our game. But we must not rest on our laurels, lest we slide back into the same old familiar murky pit. Before the World Cup cum Africa Cup of Nations campaigns resumes in September, our feuding federation officials must show goodwill and pay back in kind by lending our boys all the support they need to move to the next level. The ball is squarely on KFF’s court now.

Well done Ghost! You and your boys have truly made us proud to be Kenyans!

1 comment:

Redondo said...

Tusker FC has certainly made us proud. I wonder though what a poll to determine how many local football fans followed the team's progress during the tournament would reveal. Am convinced not many self proclaimed soccer fans were even aware of the tournament not to mention the meaning of the CECAFA abbreviation itself.
Its appalling that the local scene is crowded with self proclaimed soccer fans who know nothing beyond, Man-U, Arsenal and Chelsea. Allot of blame has been apportioned on KFF (the various factions) for running down the game. I concur that KFF is largely to blame for this but I wonder though what interest our fans have taken in the local game. Kenyans as a people are known to ape the west and glorify foreign things and maybe soccer is just one of those things where we show who we really are.
So much for my ranting.....
My take is that what the local game needs besides professionalism is passion for the game and love of our country. Before you dismiss my argument, fancy this... the best performance by our national team or any of our local clubs ever, came at a time when we didn’t have much corporate sponsorship of soccer and it was from community based clubs - Kogalo and Ingwe (Gor Mahia & AFC Leopards. These clubs were largely community sponsored yet they achieved allot.
I dare say that we are not about to see a Kenyan team lift a continental trophy like Gor did in 1988. I further dare say that unless we tone down on this DST and GTV staff, Kenyan soccer will languish in the pit of indifference and remain lackluster at best.
The verdict is yours!