Just like an aging piece of furniture that has outlived its usefulness. Just like a bad song that is on loop by your favourite radio station. That is the story of soccer management in the country; a tired tune.
Editorials have been written of the same, readers have written letters to the editors on the same. We have been treated to numerous television talk shows and radio call-ins complaining on how run down management of football in Kenya is being/already run down. Opinion pieces with the theme “to hell with FKL” are our staple diet now.
Why bother dive into an overcrowded arena with this article? Well, for some people to change their poise, some violence is paramount. And for this senile institution of self-serving individuals to pack up; this is our form of violence. Words are our weapons and coverage being our battlefield.
Kenya has never been a force to reckon when it came to international football competitions.
Our current world ranking on the FIFA/Coca-Cola standing is 115 while across the continent we are at 29. Our best show was in December 2008 when we were 68. That year also happens to be the same when we gained the most positions; 23.
We have at times pulled off some amazing upsets but more often than not, we have fallen to some mediocre teams causing us upsets. The latest Guinea Bissau loss leaving a sour aftertaste that we are now all too familiar with.
I will not mention the Uganda Cranes match.
Even before the ink dried on all the commentaries calling for the FKL and KFF fellows to seek alternative employment, the unimaginable happened at Nyayo Stadium.
7 enthusiastic fans died and scores others were injured following a stampede just before the floodlit Gor Mahia vs AFC Leopards match started on Saturday.
As soon as pictures of those who perished and those nursing injuries started streaming in they sent the country into collective gloom and thought. How could this happen? What are the parents, relatives and friends of those who perished going through? How could a soccer march turn tragic?
Soccer matches are typically an emotional affair. Soccer is an international language. Soccer is the reason warring guerrilla factions in Ivory Coast called a ceasefire after Drogba requested it. It’s the same reason President Museveni sent half his country over to Kenya two weeks ago to cheer their nation team on.
If have not had the pleasure of going for many soccer matches, but I was in Nyayo for the Kenya Vs Uganda game.
Emotions are a real hard thing to control. When you throw in other crippling factors like alcohol, the situation is bleak at best. But passion was not the sole cause for the stampede, disorganisation was.
Referring to the organisation at the stadium as deficient is being very generous with adjectives.
Assuming no renovations have been made after the Cranes vs Harambee Stars game, my take is that Nyayo Stadium should be shut down and beat into shape.
With its capacity standing at 26,000 (FIFA’s recommended), the gates that were open to the fans were only two. Quite a feat the stadium management were trying to achieve.
Squeezing thousands of people through the least available space with time and patience tapping your back is quite an ambitious task; the barriers, blistering sun and rude policemen at hand notwithstanding.
And that red rotating gate that allows only one person in at a time. This is the only terrestrial example that comes close to the biblical analogy of going to heaven being like squeezing a camel through the eye of a needle.
And who sells tickets to such a game at the stadium, seriously? Ok, G4S may run away with the proceeds, but that’s not reason enough to ditch them.
Some of the flaws at the stadium are sore thumbs – you have to work really hard to avoid noticing them. If only the stadia management would take this dark lesson to shut and think of how to rectify things and avoid such calamities in future.
Recommendations made a while back on installing seats in place of the concrete blocks should be implemented. The stadium is still a far cry from the glory it has the ability of becoming.
If the warring factions would close shop and stop using soccer as a catapult into politics. If only persons interested in restoring our not-too-terrible soccer standards got to office.
Will this debacle that is Kenyan politics come to an end? we do not care if Government intervenes and attracts a FIFA ban. Who will restore sanity??????