What you need to know:
- And so early this week, after Mali hammered the final nail on our national team’s coffin, FKF President Nick Mwendwa loudly announced his Damascus moment on national television.
It was bound to happen. Someone, something, anything – other than Football Kenya Federation (FKF) – had to take the blame for Harambee Stars’ calamitous exit in the running for that elusive ticket to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
I actually said here in this column last weekend after that 5-0 drubbing by Mali in the first leg fixture that sooner rather than later the blame game would commence in earnest. My assertions proved prophetic.
And so early this week, after Mali hammered the final nail on our national team’s coffin, FKF President Nick Mwendwa loudly announced his Damascus moment on national television.
Without batting an eyelid, Mwendwa, in his trademark high-pitched voice, said that all along what we’ve had in the national team is a bunch of losers who will never play any meaningful football beyond their rural villages.
So here was Mwendwa stating that he, like the Biblical Saul, had seen the light and got himself converted while traveling the road to Damascus, or should we say the road to Qatar. The only difference here is Mwendwa’s reversed conversion.
While Saul, a notorious persecutor of the early church, converted from a non-believer to not just a believer but a steadfast Apostle of Jesus Christ, Mwendwa’s conversion is that of a believer renouncing his faith, for he no longer believes his own lofty dreams of taking Kenya to the World Cup.
When you hear born-again Christians talking about backsliding, this is exactly what they mean. Good old Mwendwa has backslidden, and he is unapologetic about it.
Like Saul, who later became Paul, I’m sure the FKF boss wouldn’t mind a change of name. ‘Sneaky’ Mwendwa doesn’t sound that bad for a new name.
To be fair though, when Mwendwa made the World Cup pledge two years ago while he was campaigning for re-election as FKF President, I doubt there were any right thinking Kenyans out there who took the bait.
I for one didn’t believe in this cheap World Cup talk that Mwendwa kept yelping about. And not because we lack the talent to take us there, but simply because Mwendwa’s administration has failed to lay the foundation for a project of such a massive scale. Even the Bible says you only reap what you sow.
I will illustrate. In this amazingly beautiful yet strange country that we live in, we have ‘gotten’ used to waking up to news of collapsed residential and commercial buildings that otherwise appeared strong and well-built. But such structures don’t just collapse into heaps of rubble overnight.
Anyone with basic draughtsmanship skills will tell you that often it is as a result of or a combination of structural flaws, wrong choice of construction site or downright incompetence of the builders.
The same is the case for the failed sporting projects we have become accustomed to in this country.
The most logical explanation therefore for our status as a banana football republic is that the idea of investing in sound structures is a foreign concept to the clueless individuals we keep entrusting our age long aspirations on.
We will never go to the World Cup just because Mwendwa says so. And certainly not for the lack of talent. If we don’t have the talent, how then do you explain players of world class quality like Mike Okoth, Musa Otieno, Dennis Oliech, McDonald Mariga, Victor Wanyama and Arnold Origi who made a name for themselves and our country from virtually nowhere? Clearly, we’ve never been in short supply of talent.