What you need to know:
- Under her rule, the poorly lit, dilapidated, smelly changing rooms at Nyayo and City Stadiums were finally retired.
It might sound like a coincidence, but the dream that came to former rugby international Charles Nyende (who also happens to be my colleague) about Kenyan clubs forming a thriving Super League, visited me too.
If you missed it, refer to Nyende’s column Wednesday this week. There, he spoke of his vision in which six clubs broke away and formed a new league that had a multi-billion sponsor, lucrative TV rights, and whose matches were being played at a state of the art stadium in Garissa.
My dream was about a sporting utopia that was different from what we are currently enduring in three ways.
First, the general organisation of local football, starting at the top where due diligence was not optional, and neither was integrity. In place of Nielson Mwega’s FAK, there was a Football Development Force headed by Lady Seleni Omilo.
There were still delegates, but their place in the hierarchy had little bearing on real power, which rotates in a stable vortex of female advisers and officials.
Lady Seleni does not just boast about being the custodian of football, she shows that by action.
Under her rule, the poorly lit, dilapidated, smelly changing rooms at Nyayo and City Stadiums were finally retired, and colourful dressing parlours built in their place, complete with working showerheads and sanitary disposal bins.
Her predecessor and his cronies, who had left behind an acrid stench of scandal leaking out of Kandanda House, fled in shame fearing arrests over years of gross mismanagement of the beautiful game.
I dreamed that much work had gone into spelling out the various mechanisms by which the local game could be elevated, and gender equality was a key objective of the regime.
Seleni’s FDF Premier League was an alliance where attending training while on your period was a headline offense.
Training sessions were drafted with players’ menstrual cycles in mind, and members were allowed two days’ menstrual leave every month. No crass or gaudy cat calls were to be heard coming from the stands insulting the women playing and working on the pitch, just a bunch of gender sensitive spectators watching timeless class on display.
Second, the elections. I dreamed that delegates had finally taken a step back to reflect on their choices of leaders, and conceded that they had appointed rogues as presidents because they craved the illegitimate financial breadcrumbs that they received due to their proximity to the high table. They all resigned out of shame.
Third, the leaders’ characters. Good things flourish when an elected official chooses legitimate behaviour. In my dream, no person occupying a leadership position demanded loyalty, as they do now, and they were not given to brooding paranoia either, presuming that journalists are always ready to betray them.
They had qualities that cultivate true friendship. They were capable of faithfulness, and never provoked the public with their duplicity.
At one FDF alliance congregation at the dressing room one Friday, members found themselves wondering: Just how did so many people permit the pattern of injustices that female athletes have endured for so long?
And loud laughter broke as the answer established itself forcefully in their midst – their predecessors simply met the ethnographic requirement for a leader: Male. What a perfect camouflage.