Friday, April 12, 2013

Kenyan clubs should drop Gunners' defeatist mentality

It’s the most annoying thing that I keep hearing. When will Arsenal fans (the local ones) realize that ‘their’ team has hit rock bottom?
On Sunday I was left completely aghast with a colleague at the office (a self-styled Gunner) who was besides himself as Everton frustrated Tottenham Hotspurs to a 2-2 draw at the White Hart Lane.
His source of excitement was informed by the notion that defeat for Spurs would provide a window of opportunity for his beloved Arsenal to sneak through the backdoor into the Uefa Champions League.
I found that a little pedestrian. It’s no secret that over the last few years, eight to be precise, Arsenal has been reduced to a run off the mill side in the Premiership that finds enough reason to ‘celebrate’ a top four finish.
But on every occasion they have gatecrashed the European banquet, they are ever content in scrambling for crumbs that fall off the high table while the big boys (Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United) eat to their fill.
Arsenal fans keep talking about qualification for Uefa Champions League, but what's the point of qualification only to get whacked all over the place?
But I care less about the much hyped English Premier League, let alone spineless teams that forever keep talking about the future and not the present.

That brings me to the crux of the matter, local football. For all the talk about the Tusker Premier League being one of the most competitive this side of the Sahara, there is little evidence to validate this claim.
If indeed the proof is the pudding, then the top two Kenyan Premier League sides, Tusker FC and Gor Mahia, the burden of proof has been way too heavy to shoulder, going by their dismal showing at the continental stage.
Just over two decades ago, Kenya teams had little difficulty in reaching the latter stages of continental tournaments. Indeed, the then ‘Mighty Gor’ class of ‘87 class of wrote history by becoming the first club in East and Central Africa to clinch a continental diadem.
Seven years later, Tusker came very close to repeating Gor’s feat but sensationally capitulated at the hands of Congolese side DC Motema Pemba when losing seemed more difficult than winning.
Since then, it has been a downward spiral for Kenyan teams. Nowadays, we seem more content in just making the numbers as opposed to contesting for honours.
True, Egyptian clubs are established on sound infrastructural and financial foundation, but that should not be an excuse for Tusker’s and Gor’s tame display against Al Ahly and ENPPI respectively.
I would have thought that either team should have, at worst, forced a draw at home. I cringe at the thought of our clubs going the Arsenal way of taking pride in merely qualifying for continental tournaments only to get kicked left, right and centre

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