Harambee Stars worries
My dad is a worrier; if there is such a word. Not A warrior who fights with a spear or a sword but a person who worries about everything; and I mean everything.
If I tell him I have a cold, he will call me three times a day to ask if it’s gone; and if I’m travelling to Kisumu, he will call every hour to find out how far I have gone. Thank heavens my mother is the opposite otherwise I would go a little crazy. I of course had to go and inherit my father’s traits so I too am a “worrier”. right now I am worrying about our national team Harambee Stars and Coach Francis Kimanzi.
I could have told you a week ago that there would be issues with Kimanzi fielding players who weren’t committed to clubs; but I chose to give the Coach the benefit of the doubt. We all witnessed how Jamal Mohammed failed to impress on Saturday in the match against Malawi and it isn’t brain surgery to determine why.
Jamal is an exciting player to watch because of his ball control and circus-like antics, but clearly that isn’t effective football. It’s more like a Harlem Globetrotters show than a 2014 World Cup qualifier. Jamal had to be substituted late on for Titus Mulama, another player I highly respect, but a player who I strongly feel has left his best years behind him. Mulama quit international football under Antoine Hey’s reign only to return when Kimani unleashed his little black book and made phone calls.
Kevin Kimani played a decent match against Malawi but his lack of a club showed as he could have been so much better. That’s what irks me. How much better we could have been as a team.
Captain Dennis Oliech complained to one journalist that he found it difficult playing with Humphrey Mieno as he had never played with him before. He said he had to over-rely on Patrick Oboya. Eh? Mr Captain Sir, that’s what being in camp is all about; bonding and getting to know the other players. You took so long to decide to join the team and we all knew you would re-join and you decided that you were too important to sleep in camp and were allowed by the coach to go home every night. That is part of the problem.
Players spend time in camp to bond; to get to know how the other is thinking; and to strategise on moves. That bonding doesn’t end when you leave the pitch; it continues as you eat your supper together; enjoy late night chats and wake up in close proximity with each other.
Mieno may not have been the Mieno we see playing for Sofapaka but he can only grow with support all round.
The issue of several players being allowed to leave camp and go sleep in their cushy beds at home is another thing that worries me. Why does Kimanzi allow this? When my fellow SuperSport journalist Collins Okinyo tweeted about this; some fans shamelessly said that they weren’t used to tough living conditions. Excuse me! These players didn’t grow up in the plush Lavington area you know. If the camp is good enough for some players, it’s good enough for all of them.
I worry that we seem not to realise how detrimental Saturday’s result was. Yes the 2014 qualifiers are set in a league format as Kimanzi and Oliech keep reminding us; but there is no denying that three points from Malawi here at home was a need, more than a want. Malawi left four of their most senior players at home and even though we hope to have Macdonald Mariga and Allan Wanga ready for later matches, Coach Kinnah Phiri says they will raise them game 10-fold at home and Kenya won’t stand a chance. Yes there’s always a chance but it’s good to be realistic.
Realistically getting any win home or away over Nigeria is a long shot; even though it is possible.
Namibia have a really tight defence and unless we improve on our strike force; we will be in trouble this weekend – again. Dennis is a great striker but probably the formation fronted by Kimanzi was the problem. I worry.
Isn’t the traditional game plan of league format qualifiers to win home games and play for a draw away? That already puts us in a precarious position even though we have five matches left.
I worry that Kimanzi is carrying almost the same team to Namibia, with the inclusion of Arnold Origi in goal and Eugene Asike for Pascal Ochieng. I have a feeling that Origi came running after Boniface Oluoch’s superb performance. These two players aren’t likely to be the difference. Pascal didn’t play on Saturday while the goalkeeping department wasn’t our undoing.
I truly worry.
I worry that the national team has become as some Twitter followers termed it; a collection of “Kimanzi and Friends” – a group of former Mathare United, Tusker and Sofapaka players.
I worry that team selection isn’t always free and fair and I worry that we aren’t learning from past mistakes. Instead we’re just repeating them; while somehow hoping for different results.