To rescue Stars, disband FKF and start on clean slate

By: PATRICK OMUNE

Albert Einstein once said: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” This statement captures the feeling of many a football fans regarding management of Kenya’s national football team Harambee Stars.

You can’t expect shoddy preparation to equal a stellar performance and the writing was on the wall when news started trickling in last week that our national team had spent close to 10 hours at Wilson Airport because the owner of the chartered plane had not been paid in full.

After the latest debacle by Football Kenya Federation (FKF), one thing is crystal clear, there is everything wrong with our football management and its time football-loving Kenyans put matters straight once and for all.

I’m sure that by now, every football loving Kenyan is baying for FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya’s blood, including myself. But after all has been said and done, we should critically look at what exactly is ailing our football management and come up with tangible solutions.

To revive our football and to be able to compete with the likes of Nigeria’s Super Eagles, The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and Pharaoh’s of Egypt, radical measures need to be implemented.

First, the Government should rein in hard on FKF and disband its entire management. I’m sure this will invite Fifa’s wrath, but do we really care? FIFA itself is embroiled in corruption scandals, which have led to the exit of its president Sepp Blatter. This is the time Kenya needs to accept Fifa ban for the common good of the country. This is because, since losing to Cape Verde 2-1 in 2018 World Cup qualifiers over two legs due to sheer incompetence from our football officials, Harambee Stars will be in limbo for about four years till the 2019 and 2021 AFCON qualifiers and 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

After disbanding FKF, the Government should investigate how FKF has been mismanaging funds from Fifa meant for development of football in the country and from corporate sponsors.

The latest case is how the officials handled Kenya’s preparations prior to the return leg match with Cape Verde where the team flew for more than 22 hours and arrived in Praia just three hours to kick-off! If found culpable, the officials should be prosecuted and sent to jail for failing this country and cutting short the dreams of many youths who rely on football for a living.

It’s a pity that football fans have been denied the opportunity to watch the talents of the likes of Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga, Zesco United defender David “Calabar” Owino and Captain Victor Wanyama who plies his trade with Premiership side Southampton during the World Cup qualifiers.

Secondly, with FKF elections coming up, the likes of “Uncle Sam” should be barred from contesting and his name together with those who have been helping him mismanage football be struck off the list of contestants. We should start from a clean slate and hard decisions should be made. We can’t afford to repeat these mistakes and I appeal to delegates to vote with their brains, not their tummies!

Thirdly, after the elections, the new body should look for top-level coaches to establish and manage an Under-17 national side. These coaches should traverse all the 47 counties and identify young talent to be recruited to the new Under-17 outfit, with the aim of qualifying for the next edition of the U-17 World Cup.

The next target should be earlier preparations for 2019 and 2021 AFCON qualifiers and ultimately the 20122 World Cup qualifiers. Kenya should play top-level friendlies. Remember Cape Verde beat Portugal 2-0 in a friendly match this year.

If we don’t take radical measures, we’ll find ourselves in the same position come 2019 Afcon qualifiers and the 2022 World Cup qualifying matches. It will always be a case of too little, too late!

SOURCE: DAILY NATION