What you need to know:
- Seriously, with all due respect, since when did teams in Kenya’s top flight league resort to begging from boda boda fellows and mama mboga?
- Not even Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards – the two High Priests of the begging culture in Kenya football – have ever gone to that extent
- The manner in which the team has conducted its business, especially after gaining promotion to the Premier League, has not only been disorganised but downright shameful
My belated New Year greetings! After an extended break, dear readers, allow me to regale you with a brief anecdote before I get to the crux of the matter.
I have this close relative in Nairobi who almost always runs into trouble whenever he makes a trip to visit his kin and kith back in my native Aluor village in the larger Gem Constituency.
Often, this dear relative of mine travels on a shoestring budget, meaning on too many occasions he ends up stranded in the village with no fare for the return trip.
Now, where I come from, the willy villagers are always more than glad to host Jo-Narobi (folks from Nairobi) not for any other reason but for the handouts that they inevitably squeeze out of the visiting relatives in exchange for threadbare hospitality. Little wonder then that on a few occasions this poor traveler of a relative has resorted to selling off his aging mother’s eggs, chickens or even an occasional goat to raise funds for that much-needed bus ticket to Nairobi.
Personally, I’ve always dismissed the guy as a disorganised character for his perennial bus fare troubles. But that said, do such things actually happen to supposedly organised institutions, say in sport? Well, apparently yes, if the recent predicaments of Vihiga Bullets Football Club are anything to go by.
What I still can’t wrap my head around is how a team of at least 24 men of sound mind (18 players and six members of the technical bench) could have embarked on a journey of approximately 370km from Mbale town to Nairobi well aware of the fact that they had no cash for the return trip.
It’s utterly thoughtless, to say the very least. What is more insane, however, is the length to which this impoverished travelling party went just to get to Nairobi. Listen to this; to honour the league match against AFC Leopards last Wednesday at the Nyayo National Stadium, Vihiga Bullets raised money from donations from boda boda operators, mama mboga, businesspeople and the local community in Mbale town.
Is this for real? Seriously, with all due respect, since when did teams in Kenya’s top flight league resort to begging from boda boda fellows and mama mboga? Is this how low our football teams have sunk? Not even Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards – the two High Priests of the begging culture in Kenyan football – have ever gone to that extent.
While Vihiga Bullets’ financial woes drew unwarranted public sympathy and a measly bailout of Sh35,000 from Makadara MP George Aladwa, I will say it as it is. The manner in which the team has conducted its business, especially after gaining promotion to the Premier League, has not only been disorganised but downright shameful.
For how long does the team think it can survive from the meagre contributions of mama mboga? For how long do they think the Aladwas of this world will keep bailing them out with some pocket change? For how long must the players – whose only mistake is genuinely pursuing a meaningful career – be subjected to such humiliation by the people who purport to run this pauper of a team?
Vihiga Bullets deserve no pity for shooting themselves in the foot. If the team, which was only promoted to the Football Kenya Federation Premier League in 2021, cannot afford bus tickets from Vihiga to Nairobi, then it has no business playing in the league. It would save them a lot of trouble if they simply relegated themselves to the village leagues from whence they came.