Monday, August 25, 2008

A few miscelleneous posts

Arsenal in Crisis?

2 games into the season and Redondo is calling for Wenger's head. Interesting, considering how far he's brought the club. I would prefer to reserve such judgement until at least half way through the season though.

Statistics show that changing a coach frequently more often than not destabilizes the team. (Think Newcastle, Bolton and Real Madrid between Del Bosque and Schuster)

From the sentiments of key players, (Cesc, RVP and Adebayor) they would move from Arsenal if Wenger was to move on for whatever reason. Of course there's no guarantee that they would make good on their intention. So getting rid of Wenger may infact make things far much more worse.

Fact is there's loads of money in soccer and if you don't have it you don't have it. I would hate to see Arsenal going the way of Leeds United, taking on loans that are pegged on future gate earnings.

There's money to buy players, lets just see whether it will get spent.

My personal soccer philosophy

I only watch beautiful soccer. As soon as it becomes highly mechanical, I lose interest. Hence my supporting Arsenal and Real Madrid. (at least Real Madrid have a reputation of winning in style).

No Excuses

However there's no excuse for the footballing display of Arsenal FC over these first two league games of the season. I have not watched them personally but from what I have read online, there's a lack of motivation or lack of team spirit, and the poor performance has not necessarily been as a result of a perceived weakness in the central midfield.

Watching how the team performs over the next 2-3 games will probably be a good indicator on whether this will be addressed soon.

In my opinion Gallas should be replaced as captain. I actually wonder whether he should be in the team at all.

Olympics and soccer

Watching the Olympics come to a close at the Bird's Nest, I wondered what it would take to host this in Africa(let alone Kenya). The organisation involved, and of course hard cash was out of the roof. I watched a bit of the soccer finals (both ladies and men) and concluded that one must take their chances in the sport.

Brazil's women had by far the greater possession and intricate footwork (yes their women play great soccer too) but still failed to score against a resilient USA side which won the Gold medal after scoring in extra time. Nigeria had more of the possession against a ruthless Argentina side (both sides played lovely soccer too).


About a decade ago, a not so wise Englishman by the name of Alan Hansen wrote a book by the title: 'You'll win nothing with kids', in reference to the ManU side of Giggs, Scholes, Beckham and the Neville brothers. The same side that went ahead to win the double in the same year that Hansen's book was published. There was some merit in Hansen's argument, however he overlooked the other major factor of whose hands were tutoring these 'kids'. Sir Alex Ferguson was that factor. If Hansen's book was published today and if the subject of his thesis was Arsene Wenger's current gunners squad, then his book would have been a best seller. Unlike his ManU nemesis, Wenger has failed (so far) to deliver titles with his youthful side.

Not only has he failed to add to our trophy chest, he has driven many arsenal fans to apathy. I recently overheard a local gunner bemoaning the state of affairs at Emirates. He tickled me when he suggested that someone should compose a Wenger dis song similiar to the kind that local hip hop artists (Bamboo & co.) were famous for. For a team that boasts a global fan base, Wenger's failure is just totally unacceptable. To his credit, he has done well in balancing the books, but for me (and i believe most Arsenal fans) a tidy balance sheet is the least of my concerns. What good is that cash when we cant show anything for it. The fans aren't the only ones suffering, the players too must be beginning to feel it. I wonder how it must feel for Arsenal players, to be part of a squad that no player worth his salt is dying to join! Over the past two or so months we have been treated to the drama of Christiano Ronaldo and his quest to Join his dream team (Real Madrid). Others like Robinho are even toying with the possibility of forking a whooping 45 million Euros to buy out his contract in his quest to join Chelsea. Strong words/phrases like 'modern-day slavery' were even used to describe the difficult place that these players found themselves in. Yet in all this there was no mention of a similar desire to move to Emirates, on the contrary our more ambitious players (like Adebayo) were crafting an exit plan or should i call it retirement plan.

English clubs baffle me by their patience. How does a major club keep the same coach for 12 seasons when all he has to show for his fat pay cheque is a paltry 3 premierships and zero European glory. I think it boils down to lack of ambition. Why cant Arsenal do a 'capello' on Wenger, the way Real did two seasons ago? Trust me, Chelsea got it right when they showed the door to Avram Grant. Second place was not good enough for Roman Abromovich. As they say, 'second place is no place'. What I cant understand is why the club owners are so content with 3rd , 4th...Nth place. Wenger must be sacked. Arsenal needs new thinking and the only way that we can move forward is by doing away with the negative and unambitious ways of Wenger. You cannot boast of having money yet not see the need of spending it to improve your lot. He is a f***ing miser who has no place in modern football.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


(The Final Sequel to ‘Football Was My First Love’)

“Where I am from, there are two kinds of men; us and them…” ;proclaims the beginning line in the all too familiar commercial for the beer brand that officially sponsors the broadcast of the English Premier League matches on pay TV. The advert, which am sure all armchair English football fans know very well, is about two rival estate teams which we are told, in typical male chauvinism, have an annual practice of engaging in fierce football battles on a dusty estate play ground.

Then one day, something extraordinary happens, some guy over-hits the ball which goes flying right into the back of a bypassing distribution truck for this particular liquor brand. Predictably, the immediate reaction of the perplexed testosterone-pumped men is to give chase with the sole intention of retrieving the ball and getting on with the game as quickly as possible. What follows are scenes of a huge gang of grown men frantically running after the ramshackle of a truck through the mazy backstreets, estate cafeterias and all.

Finally they catch up and succeed in flagging down the runaway truck but upon opening the backside, where the ‘precious’ little ball is safely laying, their eagerness is emancipated by the irresistible sight of crates upon crates of the cool rich dark drink - whence, a football match turns into a binging spree! Its only when the truck driver pull away again that the men are jostled back to reality and a fresh chase ensues, “….there is a drop of greatness in every man…”, so concludes the voiceover at the end of the commercial.

Other than my special affinity to the particular brand of brew in question, [and I suspect its by design and not by default] for some time I kept scratching my head over the advert; there was something about this commercial that I couldn’t just place. Then there it was glaring right into my face. The setting, of course! The advert in its entirety was actually shot at the famous ‘Dezza’, that dusty play ground in Eastland’s California where I and my big bro Ted grew up in. How could I have ever missed to notice the white blocks of flats in the background, is the question I keep asking myself.

For those who are not privy to the story behind ‘Dezza’, I have previously recounted here the special attachment that I and Ted have to this nondescript playing ground. But then this is just something else all together – a reenactment of the many football matches that we watched in our boyhood at the very same venue.

Conveniently, back then, there used to be a few creative chaps in town who were thoughtful enough to organize mini-tournaments in the neighbourhood during school vacations. [I particularly take pride in the dubious distinction of having been born and schooled during the preschool holiday’s tuition era – whatever that means - that so heavily weighs on the shoulders of the miserable present day generation of primary school-going kids that I bump into 365 ¼ days of every single year]. One such lad was a guy who simply went by the name ‘Masanta’. Curiously, Masanta was not such an old lad (he must have been in high school by then) but his great acumen in the organization of two-week tournaments drawing teams not only from ‘Calif’ but also from other Eastlands estates like Majengo, Eastleigh, Ziwani, Biafra, Kimathi and Shauri Moyo is something that I still marvel to this day. Somehow, almost single-handedly, the guy always managed to run well organized events with proper fixtures, highly reputed match officials, winners’ trophies and prize money to boot.

One of these highly reputed whistlers was a certain Ali, who despite being physically challenged (he used walk around the pitch with a pronounced limp) was both a well accomplished and favoured referee. Probably so because of the professional way that he handled matches, he was accorded reverence akin to the retired Italian referee, Pierluigi Collina. In the same league with Ali, was one other referee who usually amused us with his theatrics of frequently blowing his whistle accompanied with wild gesticulations in a fervent attempt to stamp his authority on the field. We never really got his real name right – so Ted and I simply christened him ‘muborana’ for his Cushitic countenance.

But then of course the main attractions were the competing teams and the players themselves. Back then California happened to have been a neighbourhood with a considerable Muslim population and naturally our favourite teams in the senior category (over 18) used to be California Terrorists and Al-Shabab - the two home teams. The Terrorists were the more illustrious and popular yet Al-Shabab also boasted some real talent within its ranks. Notably, child prodigy Salim and his elder brother Rama stood out from the rest. In the junior category (under 16) we were spoilt for choice because there were so many good teams here, but the popular ones were Rangers (a highly talented though grossly indisciplined team), Blackout and Lucky Strikers (under the tutelage of coach by the name Lameck). But more significantly a small class of players who would go on to take their game to the highest level indeed honed their skills on this platform. The two examples of Asman Ngaiywa (Monnie) and Ezekiel Akwana (Lefty), who both later turned out for Mathare United, will suffice.

All was rosy though, more often than not, Terrorists’ arch-rivals, Bash (Majengo) and Eastleigh Sportiff would break the hearts of the partisan home crowd. There were also those odd moments of insanity on the pitch when things would go haywire. One such incident was when the Rangers players, led by their flashy goalkeeper Vin, completely lost their heads after being knocked out at a very crucial stage and descended on the opposition with blows and kicks; in the aftermath, a few bruised faces and some broken goalposts lay scattered on the ground to account for the unsporting behaviour of Rangers and their unruly fans. On yet another occasion, one notorious chap by the name Fred (he happened to be Vin’s kid bro) smashed countless empty bottles on the pitch in an ill-advised act of vengeance apparently in a bid to disrupt the competition after his team suffered a similar fate. In the end it took the intervention of event organizer, Masanta, who literally chased him around the estate and upon laying his hands on him forced him to clear up his mess.

In the final analysis, amidst all the high and low of our daily indulgence, we relished every single moment of it; for that was when we reached out for greatness…
For Redondo,
who shared much of it with me

Friday, August 15, 2008


When, I was a young lad, my mother often advised me to be myself. The reason she never relented in dishing out this line of advice was that she noticed that I was fond of imitating people and trying out what they were doing. While aping my older brother was not necessarily misfit behavior at that age, my dear mom understood that every human being has their own unique gifts and she made it her mission to drum this on me and encourage me to explore my own talents. As I think of the world economy today, am convinced that in order for Africa to remain competitive, Africans need to be themselves.

Some of you may be wondering what am ranting about. Well, the way the world works, only the best in whichever trade stand to reap maximum benefits from it. Am disturbed every time i see some of the efforts that African nations (Kenya included) are making to partake of the global economic cake. Take the BPO (business process outsourcing) craze that Kenya (and other African nations) is yapping about. I think its shaming that we would be so enthusiastic about building a whole industry on our conviction that other than the English themselves (and the Americans of course) we speak the best English. Indeed the whole concept of call centers in Kenya is built around two things: the first being Americas need for cheap customer care services and the second being Kenya's relative high density of English speaking schooled population. I may sound like a mere critic who has no better alternative. Trust me, I do. The alternative I have is one that takes advantage of our natural strength- sports.

Africans are inherently artistic and athletic. Some of the richest and most prominent Africans (past and present) are sports personalities and performing artists. Indeed the worlds most celebrated footballer ever (pele) is of African decent. As am typing this article, my MS word text editor has recognized the name pele and the inbuilt thesaurus/spell checker has promptly corrected me to make the p caps i.e Pele. According to Sports Illustrated, 5 "black" men made it to the world's top 12 highest paid sports personalities this past sporting year, namely; Tiger Woods ( rated 1st with $127.9 million), LeBron James (rated 5th with $40.5 million), Ronaldinho (rated 7th with $37.5 million), Kobe Brayant (rated 9th with $35.5 million) and Shaquille O, Neal (rated 12th with $35). My fellow Africans, Wood's annual salary is enough to fund a whole ministry's annual budget! what a way to eat at the white mans table!

Sports has become big business. The affluent west is bored stiff and cannot live without regular entertainment. Corporate America and Europe is spending top dollar to tap from their sport crazy population. Visa card for example forked a colossal $ 866 million in sponsorship for the Beijing Olympics. The English premier league on its part earned 2.3 billion Euros in the 2006-2007 season. Many Africans have found their way into the west's entertainment menu, yet Africa has not awakened to the large potential there in. How many African nations for instance, have sports ministries that are well funded? The European Soccer leagues are awash with African talent despite the odds that these players have overcome to make it to the leagues. It baffles me that many of our sports defectors have been vilified yet with just a little forward thinking we could package them as our hottest export product.

The west needs Africa to satiate its every increasing appetite for entertainment. What better opportunity than this. As I mentioned earlier this sports thing comes natural to us. What the west would consider difficult is already easy for us. For starters we just need to continue procreating and bringing forth those strong and artistic offspring. Trust me its easy; i managed one even without trying. Secondly, a little effort and planning needs to go into packaging the product. To finish of let me encourage my friend Edwin in his quest to sire and bring up the next Thierry Henry, you can do it blindfolded.


If there is one place where African football can proudly stake its pride of place on the game’s high table, then it has to be in the Men’s Olympic Football tournament. In stark contrast to the World Cup where the Quarter Final double act of Cameroon and Senegal remains the continent’s only memorable excursions, Africa has some fond memories of the event at the Olympic in the past few editions of the global games.

That having been said, it's only natural that many great African football stars of the past and present have used the Olympic Games as a launch pad into the international stage. Names of great players like Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia), Samuel Kuffour (Ghana), Taribo West, Celestine Babayaro and John Obi Mikel (all Nigeria) immediately come to mind. Personally, am very nostalgic of the 1988 Seoul Olympic because that was my first exposure to the event at the Olympic level. The one match that stood out from the rest was that unforgettable Zambia vs Italy encounter. I particularly remember two things about this match: one is the relative ease with which the Zambians, non-entities then, dispatched the highly rated Azzuris (4-0 was the final score with Kalusha Bwalya grabbing a stunning hat trick) and two is the rather unorthodox celebration style that the Zambians adopted; laying side by side flat on their backs with outstretched limbs.

Needless to say, this was year of the ‘Great Kalu’, Zambia’s greatest footballer of all time. His heroics at Seoul earned him the Africa Footballer of the Year Award (1988) and soon he was on his way to PSV Eindhoven to hone his blooming professional career. But there was more to this great team than just their mercurial captain. This in my judgment rates among the best national squads ever to emerge from Africa. Were it not for the tragic airplane disaster off the coast of Gabon, a few years later, that snuffed the life out of this golden generation, by now Zambia’s name might have been engraved on the rolls of honour of Continental champions and perhaps the southern African country might even have been one of the continent’s flag bearers at the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Of course, by some stroke of luck Kalusha Bwalya wasn’t part of the ill-fated traveling party. The legend lives on and the rest, as they say, is history.

While it’s a widely acknowledged fact that Zambia and Ghana were the forerunners in Africa’s quest for glory, it is our inordinately flamboyant and boisterous brothers from Nigeria who finally bequeathed us with the honour of a first gold medal in event at the Olympic. That was back in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia. And what a spectacle the ‘Super Eagles’ were! From their cool yet swashbuckling style of play on the pitch, orchestrated by the languid Nwankwo Kanu (just like Bwalya before him, he was voted 1996 Africa Footballer of the Year), their adoring brass band supporters to their somewhat hilarious celebrations whenever they scored a goal, the Nigerians were simply a sight to behold. Speaking of goals and celebrations, Celestine Babayaro’s imitation a drunkard with that staggered walk after scoring with a powerful header in the final match against Argentina definitely took the prize for the funniest celebration. Just for the records, in beating Argentina in this match, the all conquering Nigerians achieved a rare double over South American aristocrats having made a remarkable comeback in the Semi Final to brush aside a strong Brazilian side that boasted the likes of Ronaldo, Bebeto, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos within its ranks. In the end, so charmed by the charismatic ways of the Nigerians was the Atlanta crowd that it gave the ‘Super Eagles’ a standing ovation like no other at the final whistle.

Not to be outdone by their eternal rivals, four years later in Sidney, it was the turn of Patrick Mboma to lead the 'Indomitable Lions' of Cameroon to the podium to receive the winners’ medal. Myth has it that ever since the inaugural official Men's Olympic Football Tournament was played at the London games in 1908 an interesting 20-year pattern has recurred to provide the most memorable football tournaments in the Games’ history. It still remains to be seen whether Beijing 2008 will provide a continuation of this curious sequence.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Shabik and a few miscellenous views

This being my first post on this blog, I have been thinking about what I should write about. It is intriguing watching the shenanigans of the transfer season - the (mostly) lies about which team is going to buy who and who's going to get relegated or win which trophy. I sometimes think that the British press have nothing better to do than invent stories.

I was wondering whether we'd ever get the kind of coverage that the sport of soccer enjoys in the European leagues. I would love to be able to go watch my favourite (local) team each weekend - with young ones (when they arrive in this world).

There's only two things better than watching soccer from the couch (or at the local) - watching it at the stadium, and actually playing it.

Anyway back to reality - Man U seem to have become masters of the penalty shoot out. I didn't get a chance to watch the Community Shield because my GTV decoder suddenly began to misbehave (quite unbecoming behaviour considering the eagerness I had).

Having been one of the main proponents of which after sometime suffered from a lack of attention, it was nice to see coming up as a reliable source of football analysis. Perhaps in the not too distant future Shabik will be sending its very own D'Stefano or Redondo to cover the World Cup in 2010... You never know.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Taking into account the furore that Redondo’s post almost caused in this space earlier in the week, I wish to begin by making a major concession as a conciliatory gesture to our slighted sisters out there. While my intention is not to reintroduce the debate through the backdoor, this one simply just can’t pass unnoticed. Thank God the season of football is once again here with us!

After enduring endless episodes of those exceedingly dour Mexican soaps – a la Lamuher de Alonzo – which run for months on end, with the overused predominant themes of deceit and conflict, at least now football ‘addicts’ like myself will have something worthwhile to look forward to every Saturday afternoon.

A lot has happened in the transfer market during the close season with Cristiano Ronaldo’s saga dominating the headlines. The choice of team for which a player turns up for has become such a complex business. In this age of globalization, these long drawn negotiations, whenever a player is moving clubs, have become the norm rather than the exception. The last time I checked, Manchester United were still insisting that Ronaldo is going nowhere, but am still very skeptical; Real Madrid has built a reputation of pulling a rabbit out of the hat every season, a last minute deal wouldn’t surprise me. In fact their President Ramon Calderon who seems to be enjoying every moment was back at it again only a few days ago with a tongue-in-cheek quip that “Madrid are just a spectators in this soap opera”.

Thankfully, as the dust begins to settle, its time to get back to work; and who knows this better than the coaches? Judging from the statements that some of them having been issuing lately, a good start off the blocks seems to be the short term priority. Manchester City ’s Mark Hughes, has been very categorical in his comparison of football clubs to ‘Football Factories’ intent on producing high quality performances. And for that reason he has issued a decree to limit access to the players by the agents, friends and family at their Carrington training ground.

Others like Premiership debutant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, have had very little time for orientation and settling down. Despite finishing runners-up in the Premiership and Champions League last season, the blues are still perceived as a ‘boring’ team by many fans. Ostensibly, that seems to be a major concern for Big Phil who has been reported to say that he will oversee a culture change at Stamford Bridge . Ironically, the Brazilian who also pledged to “break with the past by promoting talented youngsters ahead of expensive import” was quick to add that he would adopt a “more modest approach than that of former Manager Jose Mourinho”. Apparently Mourinho’s ghost is not going to go away from Stamford Bridge any soon.

On the converse, Scolari will perhaps take heart from the support that he received from his captain John Terry who overtly stated that Chelsea now boasts “a manager who can lead the team as well” - (Poor Avram Grant, just where did he get it all so wrong?). But while Terry is busy offering support to his manager, his counterpart, William Gallas, at the Emirates Stadium is one man who desperately needs every support to remain the team leader but is so far receiving none. Arsene Wenger, fondly referred to as the ‘Professor’ by the club’s ardent supporters, is one man with a very long memory. Towards the end of last season, as the Gunners began to succumb to the considerable pressure from Manchester United, Gallas completely lost his head in that drawn match at Birmingham and Wenger has forgotten. Now the shrewd French manager questions the leadership of his fellow countryman and is considering stripping him of the armband. Cesc Fabregas has expressed his desire to take over the captaincy, but the grapevine has it that Wenger’s preferred choice would most probably be the hard tackling Ivorian defender Kolo Toure.

So there you have it folks! The official 2008-09 European football season gets underway this Sunday when Portsmouth face-off with Manchester United at Wembley in the Community Shield – the official curtain raiser of the season. Whether you owe your allegiance to Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Real Madrid just follow your instinct; be there for the big kick-off and enjoy the rest of the season.

As for my pal Redondo who still seems to be caught in that little domestic quagmire, I guess for the time being we could just do with our usual male-bonding sessions at our favourite hangout while indulging in sumptuous servings of the biggest serial drama on TV (read the English Premiership). But in the event you succeed in the worthy course of installing that Satellite Pay-TV thing, then rest assured I’ll become a more frequent visitor into your household!

Monday, August 4, 2008


What is it with women and soccer? I have been having a 2 months long impasse with my wife. I want to watch soccer on a regular basis on satellite TV but she wont let me install GTV or DSTV. My efforts to convince her that satellite TV will be good for the whole family have been futile. It irritates me that the occasional glances I have on TV only reveal angry Mexicans doing what they know best in the form of lamuher de Alonzo et al.

My struggle for emancipation (the freedom to enjoy soccer any time) did not start 2 months ago though. I have had a long history of women in my life that believe that soccer is a relationship breaker. I once had a girlfriend who would feign sickness just before the kick off a must-watch match like the champions league finals. Her trickery was not limited to sickness. She would bring up issues, which according to her needed my immediate attention smack in the middle of an adrenaline-drenched match. Just incase you begin to think that I am the problem, fancy this - a common friend flys back home after 3 years in the States and visits his former classmates at campus. But his timing couldn’t be worse: his visit coincides with the opening match of France 98 pitting Brazil Vs Scotland. He walks into the room and all the girls are showering him with hugs and kisses. In contrast the boys give him a casual glance & “wasup”, quickly returning their gaze to the screen where they stay glued for the next 90 or so minutes. You can imagine how infuriated our lady friends were. The well-planned home coming party was botched and we were all branded wet blankets.

The struggle between women and men over sports is not new and is not about to end either. What women have failed to realize all along is that sport (for me soccer) espouses the very essence of manhood. The essence of manhood is found in testosterone; the hormone that defines manhood through unique physical and attitude attributes. Testosterone is what has driven men over the ages to war. Testosterone wants to conquer. The object of conquest has varied over the years. Some, like the conquest of a woman are perpetual but others like conquest of animals (for food, and security) have been overtaken by technological advancements. Modern day man has found another object of conquest. He wants to conquer his opponents in the sports arena. Soccer is all about beating your opponent, rubbing it in and feeling good about it.

My appeal to our dear sisters is: let a man be. Let him compete, win, enjoy his victory. Let him brood in his loss. Don’t try to compete with soccer, coz u cant win. He needs it just the same way he needs you. He needs to unwind. Testosterone does not allow him to unwind the way you do. It dictates that his way of unwinding is by competing and hopefully winning.I don’t want to be labeled a marriage breaker and a teacher of false dogma, so I leave it there.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Last weekend local lads Tusker FC, against all odds, clinched the CECAFA club championship in Dar-es-Salaam but still suffered the indignity of enduring a 17 hour road trip back home from the Tanzanian capital. Though I hardly expected pomp and fanfare to greet the newly crowned regional club champions on arrival, I was appalled beyond words at the cold reception that Tusker FC was accorded. I particularly take exception with the indifferent attitude of the supine Kenya Football Federation officials, the equally befuddled Kenya Premier League Limited. Its my position that our football authorities owed these players the brief luxury and comfort of a flight back home.

Granted, the CECAFA championship has over the years lost abit of its gleam and is a far cry from its mid 80s editions which by all standards were more competitive and generally keenly followed by a wider fan base. However, one is still left musing over what became of our identity as a people and sense of nationhood. Redondo, one of our contributors here, while commenting on the same subject earlier in the week put it thus: “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…what the local game needs besides professionalism is passion for the game and love of our country...”
I agree with him in toto.

The local media should also share the blame for the downtrodden path that the CECAFA competitions have taken in recent years. In spite of Tusker’s sterling performance, the tournament was covered in a somewhat lukewarm fashion by our local print and electronic media. Save for national broadcaster, KBC - which aired a handful of matches featuring Tusker FC - I don’t remember seeing a single snapshot on the local dailies of the action in Dar in the entirety of the tournament.

Save for two personalities - Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ethiopian businessman Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoud - who have diligently undertaken the obligation of donating the prize money, the participating teams in CECAFA tournaments have found very little reason to celebrate.

Indeed, am surprised we keep whining that the Persian Gulf nations are ‘poaching’ our talent. Honestly, by now we should have figured out how to stop the ‘talent drain’ that has seen some of our best athletes defecting to the Middle-East. Other than just blindly aping the west and anything western, it would be a prudent move to put into practice some of those things that we so admire about the European game.

Consider this: last February when Tottenham Hotspurs won their first piece of silverware in almost a decade by beating Chelsea FC in the Carling Cup final, the London team couldn’t help parading the their ‘prized trophy’ around town - never mind the snide remarks on the sides by some envious fans of their cross-town rivals (Chelsea and Arsenal). Now, how about that for start? Who can tell how much of a morale boaster an open roof bus parade of their trophy from the JKIA through Nairobi’s business district all the way to their Ruaraka base would have been for the Tusker players? And what a spectacle it would have been if only merely to ‘break the news’ to the ignorant self-proclaimed ‘football fans’ in town who didn’t even have a clue that Africa’s oldest regional tournament was being played next door!

Tusker’s story vaguely reminded me of the humiliating predicament that the defunct Shabana FC once suffered some years ago after a Premier League match in Mombasa. Short of funds to take them back home to the distant and far away lands of Kisii, the poor lads found themselves stuck in a seedy backstreet kiosk in the coastal city for a night or two. Now, that was the height of apathy!

So much of my gripe, but perhaps its high time we toned down a little bit on this DSTV/GTV fad and reevaluated our state of nationhood as far as sports in general and football in particular is concerned.